Doc Type: Patent Application
  *US20080071748A1*
  US20080071748A1                                 
(19)United States 
(12)Patent Application Publication(10)Pub. No.: US 2008/0071748 A1
 Wroblewski et al.(43)Pub. Date:Mar.  20, 2008

(54)METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR STORING, ORGANIZING AND PROCESSING DATA IN A RELATIONAL DATABASE 
    
(75)Inventors: Jakub Z. Wroblewski,  Lomianki (PL); 
  Cas (Kazimierz) Apanowicz,  Toronto (CA); 
  Victoria K. Eastwood,  Toronto (CA); 
  Dominik A. Slezak,  Warszawa (PL); 
  Piotr D. Synak,  Warszawa (PL); 
  Arkadiusz G. Wojna,  Warszawa (PL); 
  Marcin Wojnarski,  Warszawa (PL) 
    
 Correspondence Address: 
 OGILVY RENAULT LLP  
 1981 MCGILL COLLEGE AVENUE, SUITE 1600 
 MONTREAL, QC H3A2Y3  (US) 
    
(73)Assignee:INFOBRIGHT INC.,  Toronto (CA), Type: Foreign Company 
(21)Appl. No.: 11/854,788 
(22)Filed: Sep.  13, 2007 
 Related U.S. Application Data 
(60)Provisional application No. 60/845,167, filed on Sep.  18, 2006.
 
 Publication Classification 
(51)Int. Cl. G06F 017/30 (20060101)
(52)U.S. Cl. 707/3; 707/E17.014

        

(57)

Abstract

A system and method of processing a data query in a data processing system is provided. The data in the data processing system includes a plurality of individual data elements. The data elements are grouped and stored in at least one data unit. The information about the at least one data unit is gathered and stored in at least one information unit. The method comprises receiving the data query to be executed; using the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query; resolving the data query; and returning results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
 Claim(s),  Drawing Sheet(s), and Figure(s)
 
 


CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/845,167, filed Sep. 18, 2006, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to relational database management systems (RDBMS), and more particularly to a method and system for storing, organizing and/or processing data in RDBMS.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Databases and database management systems are being implemented in more and more businesses, organizations and institutions, and are being used to store and manage increasingly large amounts of data of increasingly different types and complexity. As a result, there is a need for improved database management solutions.

SUMMARY

[0004] A relational database management system (RDBMS) in which analytical information about data and relationships within data are utilized in query planning and execution is described along with methods for using such an RDBMS. Analytical techniques such as rough set analysis (RSA) techniques may be applied to this analytical information to attempt to minimize the amount of information required to resolve a query and/or determine the fastest approach to retrieve the necessary data to answer the query. In some instances, queries may be planned and executed based on the analytical information (e.g., statistical information) about the database without accessing the underlying data. Methods of compression and decompression may also be applied to data stored in such RDBMS. Such methods may be optimized for the data.
[0005] In some aspects, there is provided a method of storing data. The data has individual data elements. The method comprises grouping a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit; gathering information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and storing the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on a storage device of a computing device. Each of the data units may have at least one corresponding information unit. A single information unit may be associated with a single data unit. The information stored in the single information unit corresponds to contents of the associated single data unit. The overall size of the stored information units may not exceed 1% of the overall size of stored data units.
[0006] In some aspects, a single information unit may be associated with two or more data units of the same data type. The information unit may group the data elements of the two or more data units. The information stored in the information unit may correspond to relationships between data elements in the two or more data units.
[0007] In some aspects, the data elements may be arranged in a table having columns and rows, where each data unit has a number of data elements from a single column of the table. The data units having data elements corresponding to the same rows of the table may be grouped into data unit groups. Each data unit group may have an identification number and the data elements correspond to the same row having the same position within the data units of the data unit group.
[0008] In some aspects, a method of processing a data query in a data processing system is provided. The data in the data processing system includes a plurality of individual data elements. The data elements are grouped and stored in at least one data unit. Information about the at least one data unit is gathered and stored in at least one information unit. The method comprises receiving the data query to be executed; using the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query; resolving the data query; and returning results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
[0009] In some aspects, the data elements are arranged in a table having columns and rows with the data units having a number of data elements from a single column of the table. The data units having data elements from the same rows of the table may be grouped into data unit groups, each data unit group having an identification number and the data elements correspond to the same row having the same position within the data units of the data unit group.
[0010] Resolving the data query may include executing an execution plan. The execution plan may have a sequence of data processing operations. Execution of each of the data processing operations within the execution plan includes the steps of: using the information in the at least one information unit to identify the data units containing the data elements that are to be retrieved to complete the operation; retrieving the data elements in the respective data units needed to complete the operation; completing the operation; and if the completed operation is the last operation in resolving the data query, returning the results of the data query for use by the data processing system and if the completed operation is not the last operation in resolving the data query, returning intermediate results of the operation for use by the remaining operations in the execution plan.
[0011] In some aspects, further information units are dynamically created to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query. The information in the at least one information unit may be dynamically altered to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query. The information in one or more of the at least one information units may be dynamically altered based on results of one of the data processing operations to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query. Results of one of the data processing operations may be used to determine parameters of subsequent data processing operations to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query.
[0012] In some aspects, a data processing system for storing data is provided. The data has individual data elements. The system comprises a server having a processor for controlling operation of the server; a storage device coupled to the processor; and a memory coupled to the processor. The server is configured to: group a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit; gather information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and store the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on the storage device. Each of the data units may have at least one corresponding information unit.
[0013] In some aspects, a data processing system for processing a data query is provided. The data processing system has a server having: a processor for controlling operation of the server; a storage device coupled to the processor; and a memory coupled to the processor. The system includes a plurality of individual data elements. The data elements are grouped and stored in at least one data unit on the storage device. Information about the at least one data unit is stored in at least one information unit on the storage device. The server includes a query module resident in the memory for execution by the processor. The query module is configured to: receive the data query to be executed; use the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query; resolve the data query; and return results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
[0014] In some aspects, a computer program product having a computer readable medium tangibly embodying code for storing data in a data processing system is provided. The data has individual data elements. The computer program product comprises: code for grouping a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit; code for gathering information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and code for storing the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on the storage device.
[0015] In some aspects, a computer program product having a computer readable medium tangibly embodying code for processing a data query in a data processing system is provided. The system includes a plurality of individual data elements. The data elements are grouped and stored in at least one data unit. Information about the at least one data unit is stored in at least one information unit. The computer program product comprises: code for receiving the data query to be executed; code for using the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query; code for resolving the data query; and code for returning results of the data query for use by the data processing system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a relational database management system (RDBMS);
[0017] FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a data pack consisting of compressed column-data stored in a database;
[0018] FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a method for generating data packs;
[0019] FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of a column being encoded during the operations of FIG. 3;
[0020] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating operations of a method for decoding data packs;
[0021] FIG. 6A is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a HIST knowledge node;
[0022] FIG. 6B is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a CMAP knowledge node;
[0023] FIG. 6C is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a Graph Node knowledge node;
[0024] FIG. 6D is a schematic diagram illustrating an example of a Foreign Node knowledge node;
[0025] FIG. 7A is a diagrammatic representation of a method of compression;
[0026] FIG. 7B is a flowchart illustrating operations of a method for compressing data;
[0027] FIG. 7C is a flowchart illustrating operations of a method for decompressing data;
[0028] FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram illustrating operations of a method for compressing data using a PartDict data filter;
[0029] FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram illustrating operations of a method for decompressing data that was compressed using the PartDict data filter of FIG. 8;
[0030] FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of data within the RDBMS of FIG. 1;
[0031] FIG. 11 is a schematic representation of a tiered data warehouse;
[0032] FIG. 12 is a schematic representation of a tiered data warehouse system; and
[0033] FIG. 13 is a schematic diagram illustrating a computing device that may be used to implement the methods disclosed.
[0034] Throughout the Figures, like features are identified by like reference numerals.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0035] The present disclosure provides a relational database management system (RDBMS) in which analytical information about data in a database may be used in query planning and execution. The analytical information may be determined from the data by mathematical techniques. Basic analytical information about the data may be used to provide advanced analytical information (i.e., higher level, more organized information) about the data and relationships within the data. Analytical information usually applied by conventional databases to single data values may be applied at the level of collections of values stored in data packs as described below.
[0036] Using basic and advanced information about the data, techniques such as rough set analysis (RSA) techniques may be used in query planning and execution. RSA techniques are mathematic techniques based on rough set theory for providing statistical information about raw data. RSA techniques apply mathematic analytical techniques to identify relationships between data and provide approximation data (e.g., rough sets) that represent these relationships. RSA techniques may also be used to generate and optimize the advanced information about the data to further improve query execution. Rough set theory can provide a theoretical basis for machine learning by which relationships may be identified in raw data. Analytical techniques, such as various RSA techniques, may be applied in the RDBMS.
[0037] The use of RSA techniques in query planning and execution seeks to improve query response times and extend query capabilities compared with traditional approaches to database management systems (DBMS). Using basic and advanced information about the data, RSA techniques allow the amount of data that needs to be accessed to resolve a database query to be minimized by first analyzing the basic and/or advanced analytical information to determine if this analytical information may be used, either entirely or in part, to resolve the query without accessing the underlying data. The process of accessing data may require the data to be retrieved from a storage medium, which may be costly in terms of memory or time. Further, when data needs to be accessed, the basic and/or advanced analytical information may assist in determining the optimal approach to do it, as some data may need to be accessed multiple times while resolving the given query. Further still, the basic and/or advanced analytical information about the data may provide useful information in managing or organizing the database, and may be used to extend standard functionality of the relational database management system, such as optimization and execution of queries, by allowing “rough queries” based solely on the basic and/or advanced analytical information about the data. These rough queries may be used as execution steps in the resolution of a data query.

Relational Database Management System

[0038] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a relational database management system (RDBMS) 200. The example RDBMS 200 is described with reference to functional program modules for the purpose of illustration only. When implemented, one or more of these functional modules may be combined into a single program module or may include two or more sub-modules. The RDBMS 200 may interface with a client application (also referred to as a client) 202 providing a query tool executed on a user terminal (not shown). The RDBMS 200 may be coupled to a database 201, which may be implemented using SQL (Structured Query Language), and may provide an interface, such as an SQL interface, to query tools for use via the client application 202. The SQL interface may manage the creation and management of database objects like tables, views and user permissions to those tables. Although only client application 202 is shown, multiple client applications 202 may be connected to the RDBMS 200. The client application 202 may provide a user interface (not shown) through which SQL requests and responses may be sent and received between the client application 202 and the RDBMS 200. The RDBMS 200 may include a Query Parser 204, a Query Representation Optimizer 206, a Query Optimizer 208 and a Query Execution Module 210.
[0039] The RDBMS 200 may also include functional program modules such as: connectors, connection pool, management services and utilities, caches and buffers, and file system. The functionality of these program modules will be understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art and so will only be briefly described. The connectors may provide various mechanisms/protocols for external tools to connect to the database. The connection pool may manage multiple clients connecting and making requests to the database. The connection pool may manage the concurrency of many requests competing for resources. The management services and utilities are supporting tools that may be used with the data to manage administration, settings, users, etc. The caches and buffers are lower level services that may be provided to all the system components which manage data in memory (e.g., Random Access Memory (RAM)) for query responses and optimizations among other functions. The file system may manage the storage device.
[0040] The database 201 may include one or more data packs (DP) 221 (see FIG. 4). In some aspects, the database 201 may be a column-oriented database 201, and the data packs 221 may each represent column data from a base table. The data packs 221 may include compressed data representing the records or entries in the respective column. The database 201 may be stored or partitioned on one or more data storage devices (not shown) such as a hard disk drive (HDD) or other suitable storage medium, which may be a permanent (i.e., non-volatile) storage medium. In some aspects, the data packs 221 may contain data concerning up to 65,536 consecutive records or records occupying up to 64 k of storage space, of which some values may be null. Depending on the size of a column, it may be stored in more than one data pack (e.g., if the column has more than 65,536 records or requires more than 64 k of storage space). The data packs 221 may contain more or less records than discussed here, depending on the application.
[0041] The data packs 221 may be compressed. In some aspects, data packs 221 that are frequently accessed or frequently decompressed may also be stored in memory in compressed or uncompressed form in addition to being stored in a storage medium, which may decrease access time or costs. If the data pack 221 is stored in uncompressed form, memory usage may be decreased by not having to decompress the data pack 221 to access its data elements. The frequency at which the data packs 221 in memory are accessed may be monitored, and if the access frequency of a certain data pack 221 falls below a certain threshold, that data pack 221 may be removed from memory. Similarly, the frequency at which data packs 221 not stored in memory are accessed may be monitored, and if the access frequency of a certain data pack 221 is above a certain threshold, that data pack 221 may be copied and stored in memory in either compressed or uncompressed form. In other words, frequently accessed data packs 221 may be cached in memory in order to reduce access delays.
[0042] Information about data elements in a data pack 221, such as basic statistical or analytical information, may be stored in an information unit or statistical data pack referred to as a data pack node (DPN) 222 (see FIG. 4) associated with each data pack 221 in the database 201. In some aspects, there may be one DPN 222 for each data pack 221. The data pack 221 and DPN 222 may be stored in the database 201 in separate files. Some collections of the data packs 221 may be stored in the same files. Each DPN 222 may contain basic information (e.g., statistics) about its respective data pack 221. The particular information maintained in the DPN 222 for each data pack 221 may depend on the particular data type of the respective data pack 221. Typically, the size of each DPN 222 may be small and so the DPN 222 may be not compressed. However, if the information contained in the DPN 222 becomes more complex or large, the DPN 222 may be compressed.
[0043] Generally, column data types may be at least one of: a string, a numeric value, a floating point value, or a binary value. A compression algorithm may be selected for each of these four primary data types. In some aspects, within each of these four primary data types there may be sub-types (e.g., large string, short string, date, or other) for which different compression algorithms may be selected. In some aspects, all numeric values, floating point values, and binary values may be stored as unsigned integers for the purpose of compression. For example, a negative decimal number may be converted to an unsigned integer, with certain indicators to mark that it is a negative decimal number. This can be reconstructed to recover the original number. By using only unsigned integers for storage, implementation of compression may be simplified by avoiding the need for different filters specific to a large number of data types. Of course, certain data filters, for example PartDict, may be able to process all data types. Data filters will be discussed in greater detail further below.
[0044] In accordance with an embodiment, at least the following SQL-compatible data types may be implemented (the particular format of each data type may be varied): TINYINT, BOOL, BOOLEAN, SMALLINT, INT, FLOAT, REAL, DOUBLE, DEC, DATE, DATETIME, TIMESTAMP, TIME, YEAR, CHAR, VARCHAR, BINARY, VARBINARY, TINYTEXT, and TEXT.
[0045] In this example, the DPN 222 for data packs 221 may include: the number of non-null values in the respective data pack 221, the minimum and maximum values in the respective data pack 221, and the sum of values (this may be applicable to numerical data types only) in the respective data pack 221. In the case of non-numerical data types, the lexicographic minimum and maximum or the largest common prefix (e.g., the longest sub-string that is common to all strings) for a data pack 221 may be stored. If all non-null values in the data pack 221 are the same, the DPN 222 may store only the statistical information and positions of nulls. Additional or different information may be included in the DPN 222 in other aspects. Further, other information about the respective data pack 221 may be derived from the information in the DPN 222. For example, the average value may be derived directly from the number of non-null values and the sum of values which are both stored in the DPN 222 of the example.
[0046] The DPN 222 may be used in query planning and execution, and may allow minimization of the need to access the data stored in the respective data pack 221 during query execution, as will be described in more detail below.
[0047] For a data table with more than one column, DPNs with the same ordinal numbers contain information about the same rows. For example, the values of the 100,000th row are stored in the second data pack for each of the columns because the first data packs may store the values for rows with numbers between 1 and 65,536, and the second data packs for each of the columns store the values for rows with numbers between 65,537 and 131,072. It is convenient to use the term “packrow” to indicate the collection of data packs corresponding to different columns but storing the values of the same rows. The packrows may also be referred to as data pack groups or data unit groups. For example, the first packrow consists of data packs storing the values of rows with numbers between 1 and 65,536, the second packrow corresponds to the rows with numbers between 65,537 and 131,072, etc. A packrow may also be referred to as to its ordinal number plus references to particular data packs for particular columns. A row with a given ordinal number (e.g., 100,000) may be trackable using the ordinal number of the packrow that it belongs to, for example number 2 for the 100,000th row, and the local ordinal number of each of values of that row in each of the corresponding data packs, which for this example is 34,464.
[0048] Knowledge nodes (KNs) or knowledge node objects 224 may be also stored in the database 201 on the same or different storage device (e.g., HDD) as the data packs 221 and the DPNs 222. The KNs 224 are another type of information unit or statistical data pack, and may be directly associated with specific data packs 221. The KNs 224 may be associated with one or more data packs 221, one or more columns, one or more tables, or a combination thereof. KNs 224 may include information, such as advanced analytical information, about the data elements stored in one or more data packs 221, one or more columns, one or more tables, or a combination thereof. The KNs 224 are optional in that they provide more detailed or advanced information about the data elements in the data packs 221 and relationship between the data elements. There are several types of KNs 224 that may be generated and stored, and new KNs 224 may be generated and added to the RDBMS 200 without impact or without significant impact to the basic functionality of the RDBMS 200. The KNs 224 may be dynamic and may change over time. KNs 224 provide information about data elements in data packs 221 that may extend beyond that provided by the DPN 222, such as information about relationships between data elements in multiple data packs 221, information about relationships between data elements in different columns in a base table and/or relationships between data elements in columns in different base tables. Example KNs 224 are described below. Typically, the size of each KN 224 may be small and so KNs 224 may be not compressed, however if the information contained in the KNs 224 becomes more complex or large the KNs 224 may be compressed. Together, the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 for the database 201 form a knowledge grid (KG).
[0049] The database 201 may also have indices based on the data packs 221 analogous to database indices based on records. Most standard database indices may be adapted for the RDBMS 200 to be based on the data packs 221 and packrows rather than records.
[0050] The RDBMS 200 may further include a Knowledge Grid (KG) Manager 220 and a Knowledge Grid (KG) Optimizer 240. The Knowledge Grid Manager 220 is a functional program module that may manage the DPNs 222 and KNs 224. The Knowledge Grid Manager 220 works with the Query Optimizer 208 and Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240. The Knowledge Grid Manager 220 may generate, modify and remove KNs 224 based on instructions from the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240. The Knowledge Grid Manager 220 may also be responsible for informing the Query Optimizer 208 about the available DPNs 222 and KNs 224 and may load them into memory from storage (e.g., HDD) as necessary. When loaded into memory, the Query Optimizer 208 may use information from the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 to determine the optimum query execution plan. Once loaded into memory the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 may also be used in the execution of the query execution plan as will be explained in more detail below.
[0051] The Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 is a functional program module that may be used to determine an optimum set of KNs 224 based on query statistics 244 (which may be obtained from the Query Parser 204) and data pack usage statistics 242 obtained from the Knowledge Grid Manager 220. The query statistics 244 may allow the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 to identify data ranges and types of information about the data being queried. The query statistics 244 may be applied by the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 to determine which KNs 224 are the most useful for query execution. For example, the query statistics 244 may maintain information on how frequently particular pairs of tables are joined, which may influence whether the corresponding pack-to-pack KN 224 should be stored in the knowledge grid.
[0052] Data pack usage statistics 242 may store information about the frequency and/or kind of usage (e.g., relevant, irrelevant, partially relevant) of data packs 221. Data pack usage statistics 242 may influence compression/speed ratios for particular data packs 221 and which data packs 221 are loaded directly into memory. Data pack usage statistics 242 may also be used to vary the content of the DPNs 222 for particular data packs 221. Data pack usage statistics 242 may be used to identify the respective data packs 221 of the data being queried.
[0053] Using the query statistics 244 and the data pack usage statistics 242, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may update the optimal set of KNs 224. If KNs 224 do not exist over a desired data range, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may determine that creation of one or more KNs 224 would improve query execution. In this case, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may instruct the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 to create one or more KNs 224 of a given type (e.g., create a histogram for a given data pack 221). If KNs 224 exist over a desired data range (e.g., for a given data pack 221) but, for example, the KNs 224 cannot be used to answer the most frequent queries over this range, the existing KNs 224 may be modified (e.g., histogram ranges expanded) or new KNs 224 may be created (e.g., create a Pack-Pack Join object) in order to provide sufficient statistics to satisfy such queries. In this case, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may instruct the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 to modify or create the relevant KNs 224. If KNs 224 exist, but the relevant data is infrequently or never queried, and hence the relevant KN 224 is infrequently or never queried, these KNs 224 may be deleted. In this case, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may instruct the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 to delete the relevant KNs 224. If such data becomes accessed or queried more frequently in the future, this may be detected by the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240, which may instruct the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 to (re)create relevant KNs 224 if doing so will improve query performance.
[0054] The Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 provides an improved collection of KNs 224, that is, KNs that cooperate with each other in an improved way in resolving queries. For example, two particular KNs may be far more valuable than the rest of KNs. However, it may only be necessary to retain and store one of those two KNs because they usually aid in resolving the same queries with the same data packs. In such a case, it is possible to store only one of those two best KNs since they are somewhat redundant. Instead of storing the second KN, it may be beneficial to generate another more complementary KN that may be helpful with other queries or data packs.
[0055] Given the above example of how the task of optimizing a collection of KNs may differ from the task of choosing KNs that appear to be the best KNs, if these two tasks are viewed separately, some optimization principles may be generated to be followed by Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240. One objective of the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 is to maintain a collection of KNs 224 that are most useful in resolving queries. KNs that are most useful in resolving queries are those KNs that protect or prevent the most data units from being accessed. Further, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 monitors the KNs 224 that are contributing least while query optimization and execution occurs. The Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 searches for and generates new possible KNs to be stored instead of those least contributing KNs. Some considerations for evaluating the contribution of KNs include overall disk space required for storing all of the KNs 224 and total memory required to store the KNs 224 in memory.
[0056] The Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may use one or more heuristic algorithms, including greedy, randomized, evolutionary and/or other AI-based algorithms, to determine the optimal set of KNs 224 to satisfy the most queries with the least amount of access to the data in the data packs 221, thereby minimizing the need to decompress the data packs 221 and load the raw data into memory. Some suitable heuristic algorithms can be found in “How to Solve It: Modem Heuristics” by Michalewicz and Fogel; and in “Introduction to Algorithms” by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein. In one example, the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may identify the most significant relationships within the data and then may determine an optimal set of KNs 224 to be maintained by the RDBMS 200. The Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 may then instruct the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 to generate, modify and/or remove KNs 224 in accordance with the determined optimal set. Accordingly, the KNs 224 may be dynamic and change over time in accordance with the query statistics 244 and the data pack usage statistics 242. In addition, because the KNs 224 may contain analytical information about data rather than actual data, the KNs 224 may be deleted or lost without compromising data integrity.
[0057] The Query Parser 204 may receive SQL queries, sometimes referred to as requests or SQL statements, from the client application 202. The Query Parser 204 parses or separates the SQL query received from the client application 202 and converts it into an internal representation usable by the RDBMS 200. The Query Parser 204 may forward this internal representation to the Query Representation Optimizer 206.
[0058] The Query Representation Optimizer 206 may perform a syntactical optimization of the query. The Query Representation Optimizer 206 replaces any references to views with references to the underlying base tables and reformats the query to attempt to make it easier to execute based on the structure of the query request. The Query Representation Optimizer 206 may forward this optimized representation to the Query Optimizer 208.
[0059] The Query Optimizer 208 may optimize the query for execution using analytical information from the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 relating to the underlying data (e.g., column, table, or view described in the original SQL query) provided via the Knowledge Grid Manager 220, and from intermediate query results obtained from the Query Execution Module 210 as will be described in more detail below. The Query Optimizer 208 may prepare the query for execution by preparing a query execution plan. If intermediate query results are obtained from the Query Execution Module 210, the Query Optimizer 208 may modify the initial query execution plan based on these intermediate results. The Query Optimizer 208 may forward the initial and any modified query execution plans to the Query Execution Module 210 for execution.
[0060] The Query Execution Module 210 may execute the initial and any modified query execution plans provided by the Query Optimizer 208. The Query Execution Module 210 may also be coupled to the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 so as to provide access to the analytical information of the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 for use in answering the query. The Query Execution Module 210 may, if the query cannot be resolved solely from the basic and/or advanced analytical information in the DPNs 222 and/or KNs 224 respectively, use retrieved data from storage (e.g., HDD) by decompressing the relevant data packs 221 in the database 201 using a Decompression Module 246. A file system (not shown) may be responsible for storing and retrieving data from data packs 221 in storage and compressing/decompressing the data packs 221 as required.
[0061] The RDBMS 200 may further include import module 248 and export module 250. The import module 248 may be used to encode raw data from base tables obtained from an external database or data source 203 into data packs 221. The export module 250 may be used to decode data packs 221 into underlying base tables for exporting to the data source 203. As part of the encoding/decoding operation, the data in the data packs 221 may be compressed/decompressed. Compression may be performed by the compression module 252 in the import module 248, and decompression may be performed by the decompression module 254 in the export module 250. The compression and decompression may use the filter cascade described below. The compression process may use a compression algorithm selected to optimize the compression ratio of a column, and may be selected according to the data type of the respective column. Possible compression algorithms encode the data and may use common coding methods known in the art including: arithmetic coding, range coding, Shannon-Fano-Elias coding, Shannon coding, Huffman coding, Rice coding, Golomb coding, Tunstall coding, and prediction by partial matching (PPM). Other codes or compression algorithms may be suitable. DPN information about the column may be used to vary parameters (for example, to apply or not apply various parameters) of the selected compression algorithm. A complementary decompression algorithm may be used when the data packs 221 are decoded for export or query resolution when data about individual data packs is required. The importing operation may optionally include creation of KNs 224, using the KN Creation Module 256 in the import module 248. Compression and decompression of the data will be discussed in greater detail below.
[0062] The database content and metadata may be stored in several types of files: (1) column description files; (2) data pack description files; (3) data files; and (4) knowledge node description files.
[0063] The column description files contain a description of the column which may include: its data type, DPN information, and data pack localization. In some aspects, there are data pack description files in addition to the column description files, in which case the column description files may contain information on the data type and basic statistics of the column (e.g., information as to whether each record has a unique value, dictionary of values if a column has small number of distinct values, or others), and the data pack description files may contain DPN information and data pack localization information. The data pack localization information associates each column with a respective data pack identifier (ID) such as a file name or number and file offset in cases where each data file contains more than one data pack. These files may additionally contain session information which may enable identification of the sessions in which the given data pack was created or modified. The column description file may be a relatively small file, typically several kB in the present embodiment, which is loaded into memory when the respective column is used for the first time. The column description file is used to locate and decode data packs 221 by identifying the associated data pack 221 and data type so as to identify the relevant decompression algorithm. In some situations, the metadata which may include the column description files from memory may be sufficient to determine the content of the data pack (e.g. nulls only, all values identical) in which cases the data file may be empty.
[0064] The data files contain the compressed column data. The data files may be stored with the column description file, although they may be stored in a different location (e.g., different storage device, etc.). In some aspects, the data files may be limited to 1.5 GB in size, or some other suitable size depending on the application, to improve read times. Each data file may contain data for two or more data packs 221, where each data pack 221 in the data file occupies a continuous space. The number of data packs 221 that may be stored in one file varies depending on the size of each data pack 221, which may be influenced by data type, number of nulls, and compression ratio. When reading data from a data pack 221, the file system may only need to decompress the part of the data file associated with the relevant data pack 221. Advantageously, storing more than one data pack 221 in one data file may allow faster read times (e.g., times for decoding and loading of data pack data into memory for access during query execution) than if each data pack 221 were stored separately. Additionally, storing larger collections of data packs 221 together in files may improve the access speed. If each data pack 221 were stored in a separate file, the access speed may be reduced.
[0065] The knowledge node description files store information about the KNs 224. Each KN description file describes a separate KN 224, allowing individual KNs 224 to be created, modified, or removed by the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 without affecting other objects, such as other KNs 224. This may improve the ability to manage (e.g., by creation or deletion of KNs 224) the KNs 224 of the database 201. The KN description files may be stored on the same or different storage device (e.g., HDD) as the column description files and data files. The KN description files are loaded into memory on the first use of the KNs 224, however the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 may load and remove KNs 224 from memory in accordance with usage of such KNs 224. The KN description files are not necessary for data decoding, and may therefore be lost or restored at any time.
[0066] All of the data files may be subject to memory management. Once the column metadata (e.g., column description files), data pack (e.g., data file) 221 or KN (e.g., KN description file) 224 is loaded into memory, it may be kept in memory as long as it is being used, and may be kept by the memory manager for future use. When the available memory becomes low, the less used objects may be removed from memory, as managed by the Knowledge Grid Manager 220.

Query Example

[0067] FIG. 2 illustrates an example query using data packs and analytical information in the DPNs 222. FIG. 2 represents data packs including compressed column-data stored in the database 201. The following example query is to be solved using the database 201:

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM . . . WHERE A>5;

[0068] For the purposes of this example, the data packs in the database 201 can be separated into three categories: BLACK data packs 260 are not relevant to the query; GREY data packs 262 are partially relevant to the query, so they need to be accessed to answer the query because some of the elements of the data packs 262 may be relevant and some other elements may be irrelevant; and WHITE data packs 264 are relevant to the query and do not need to be accessed to answer the query because the answer can be determined directly from the respective DPN 222.
[0069] The BLACK data packs 260 each have a maximum value of less than 5 on A (e.g., some may have a maximum of 4, others 3, and yet others 2 or 1). These data packs are not relevant to answering the query because all of the data in these data packs 260 falls outside the query, because the maximum value of A of all records stored in the data packs 260 is 4 which is less than the query restriction of A>5. The BLACK data packs 260 are said to be disjoint with the query.
[0070] The WHITE data packs 264 each have a minimum value greater than 5 on A (e.g., some may have a maximum of 6, whereas others may be 7 or 10, etc.) on A. These data packs 264 are relevant to answering the query because the value of A for all records in these data packs 264 is greater than or equal to 6 which is greater than the query restriction of A>5. If the information in the DPNs 222 about the WHITE data packs 264 indicates the number of records with non-null values on A, then this information can be summed to partially resolve the query for the WHITE data packs 264. The GREY data packs 262 each have a minimum value of 3 and a maximum value of 7 on A. These data packs 262 are also relevant to answering the query because some of the records in these data packs 262 have a value which is greater than 5 on A, while some records in these data packs 262 have a value of less than 5 on A. Thus, only the WHITE and GREY data packs 264, 262 are relevant to answering the query. The BLACK data packs 260 are not needed.
[0071] In the above example, information to answer the COUNT(*) query can be obtained from information regarding how many records from particular data packs satisfy the filter A>5. Thus, for BLACK data packs 260 the answer is automatically known to be zero. For WHITE data packs 264, we know that all records with non-null values on A inside should be counted. The number of non-null values is stored in the DPN 222 for a numeric data type so this number can be taken and summed for all of the WHITE data packs 264. Only for the GREY data packs 262 is the number of how many of the non-null values that are actually greater than 5 not known using information from the DPNs 222, and hence the GREY data packs 262 need to be decompressed to get detailed information about every single value in the GREY data packs 262. The above example is provided for the purpose of illustration only.

Data Pack Generation

[0072] FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate operations 300 of a method for generating data packs in accordance with an embodiment. The operations 300 illustrate the generation of a single data pack 221. If more than one data pack 221 is needed, for example when a base table is being imported into the RDBMS 200, then the operations 300 must be repeated until the entire base table has been encoded into data packs 221. Although the particular compression algorithm may vary between data packs 221, the same steps 302-320 will be performed for each column of the base table irrespective of the applied compression algorithm. FIG. 4 shows a partial column 402, its corresponding null mask 404, and a reduced data set 406 generated by removing the null positions indicated in the null mask 404 from the partial column 402.
[0073] In the first step 302, a column data from a base table to be encoded is selected, for example, when raw data from a base table is being imported into the RDBMS 200. Next, in step 304 column data is obtained. In some aspects, each data pack 221 may hold records for up to 64 k (65,536) of storage space. Alternatively, each data pack 221 may hold 65,536 records. The data pack 221 may hold more or less records than described here, depending on the application. If the column contains less then 64 k of records, the column may be padded with null values to create a total of 64 k column, or the column may be left with less than 64 k of records, as an incomplete column. If the column contains more than 64 k of records, two or more data packs may need to be generated in order to compress the entire column. In other aspects, the data packs 221 may be able to handle more than 64 k of records. Similar operations may be carried out where each data pack 221 is designed to hold 65,536 records. While a value of 64 k is used in this example for the size of each column, columns of any size may be used in order to meet the requirements of a particular application.
[0074] Next, in step 306 basic analytical information for the column data to be stored in the respective DPN 222 is calculated. Optionally, prior to calculating the DPN information the column data may be analyzed for outliers. If any outliers are detected, they form part of the DPN information stored in the DPNs 222. In addition, if any outliers are detected they may be not considered in determination of the other DPN information (e.g. null, non-null, maximum and minimum where applicable, and sum where applicable). Outliers are values which do not match the general pattern or trend in a given column. Outliers may be, for example, infrequently occurring symbolic values or extreme values. In the example of FIG. 4, an outlier is the value 5000 which is an extreme value compared to the other values in the column set (i.e., 6, 7 and 8). Outliers may be detected using heuristic methods including methods commonly known in the art, which may be similar to those used in the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 described above (e.g., greedy, randomized, AI-based, evolutionary etc.). If detected, the outliers are stored in the DPN 222 and an outlier mask 408 which tracks the positions of outliers to non-null values is stored in the data pack 221.
[0075] Next, in step 308 a suitable compression algorithm may be selected based on the data type of the column. In some aspects, for each data type implemented in the RDBMS 200 a compression algorithm is pre-selected. Next, in step 310 a null (bit) map or null mask 404 (FIG. 4) is generated. Next, in step 312 the null mask is compressed using a compression algorithm suitable for binary sequences since the null mask 404 is binary regardless of data type of the reference column.
[0076] Next, in step 314 the null mask 404 is used to remove null values from the column to generate a reduced data set 406 consisting of only non-null values. The null mask 404 provides a map of the null value positions and non-null value positions so that null value positions may be removed from the column. As will be described in more detail below, the null mask 404 is stored in the data pack 221 for subsequent use in decompression.
[0077] Next, in step 316 the DPN information is used to determine parameters of the selected compression algorithm based on value patterns identified in the reduced data set 406. The Knowledge Grid Manager 220 also provides input regarding whether the data in a given data pack 221 may be more highly compressed, for example because it is not used frequently, which may permit a high compression ratio to be utilized at the expense of decompression speed, or when decompression speed should be favoured at the expense of compression ratio because the data in a data pack 221 is used frequently. The DPN information may be used to tune the parameters and optimize the compression ratio within every single data pack 221 based on intrinsic patterns in the reduced data set 406. Next, in step 318, the reduced data set 406 column data is compressed using the selected compression algorithm with the compression parameters determined in step 316, thus creating a DP 221. Next, in step 320 compressed (non-null) column data, the compressed null mask 410, outlier mask 408 (if any), compression parameters, and any intermediate results of the compression algorithm (if any) are stored together in the data pack 221, and a DPN 222 is stored in non-volatile memory (e.g., HDD).
[0078] The steps 302 to 320 are then repeated for the next column, or next portion of the column, until all data in the base table to be encoded and stored has been processed via the operations 300.
[0079] FIG. 5 illustrates operations 500 of a method for decoding data packs 221 in accordance with an embodiment. Decoding operations 500 may occur, for example, during execution of a database query in which access to data in the data packs 221 is needed or during export operations in which raw data from the RDBMS 200 is exported to the external database/data source 203. In the first step 502, an appropriate decompression algorithm is selected for the data pack 221 to be decoded based on its data type as determined from the column description file associated with the data pack 221 and maintained by the RDBMS 200. Compression parameters and any intermediate results of the compression algorithm (if any) which are stored in the data pack 221 are used by decompression algorithm to decompress the data pack 221.
[0080] Next, in step 504 the compressed data in the data pack 221 is decompressed to produce a reduced data set 406 (FIG. 4). Next, in step 506 the null information stored in the associated DPN 222 (i.e., the null mask 404) is applied to the reduced data set in order to produce the original column data.
[0081] Although the above description refers to compression and decompression involving filtering of the outliers and null values, other filtering methods are possible, and may be selected depending on the data. These other methods will be discussed in greater detail.

Multi-Column Encoding

[0082] In addition to encoding a single column, data packs 221 may be encoded based on functional dependencies between columns within a base table or across base tables. To accommodate multi-column compression, descriptions of these functional dependencies may be stored instead of the actual data for each column. For example, if it is determined that whenever column A has value x, column B has value y, then the value of y does not need to be explicitly stored. The value x in column A may be encoded into data packs in accordance as described above along with a description of the functional dependency between columns A and B (i.e. the relation x=y). This relation may occur within the context of a single base table or between columns in different base tables.
[0083] At the knowledge node level, if a multi-column dependency is known, it can be used to minimize the number of data packs 221 to be decompressed. For example, if the values of column A are always greater than those of column B, during the execution of a query with Filter A=5, then internally the additional Filter B<5 may be generated by the Query Optimizer 208 to be used against the DPN information for the data packs 221 for the column B.
[0084] Methods that may be common in the art (e.g., neural networks, fuzzy logic, rough set reducts, statistical regression, etc.) may be used to identify functional dependencies between data. Alternatively, functional dependencies may be input from existing database indices when data is imported into the database 201. Optimization criteria for identifying functional dependencies may also be modified to search for inexact functional dependencies, such as where there are exceptions to the relationship between the data or a trend/pattern in the data (e.g., outliers as described above). In the case of inexact functional dependencies, the description of the relationship and any exceptions or special cases may be stored in the data pack 221 along with the data of at least a reference column in accordance with the operations 300 described above. For example, if x=y for columns A and B respectively, except for 2 records, the exceptional records (e.g., outliers) may be stored along with the relation x=y in the respective data pack 221. Such functional dependencies may be smaller in size (e.g., require less memory) than the underlying data, and may be stored in KNs 224. Thus, KNs 224 may be created before data is grouped into data packs 221.
[0085] Thus, a mathematical dependency model may be generated based on one or more functional dependencies describing an inexact functional relationship between data in columns A and B that allows, with the input of values of some subset of data in column A, the output of approximations of the actual values of the corresponding subset of data in column B. This dependency model may then be modified to optimize the compression ratio of data of column A to be compressed during encoding operations using the particular compression algorithm applied for a particular data type, provided that the resulting approximation of the actual data of column B is within the specified tolerance for the given application. The above examples are for illustration purposes only.

Knowledge Nodes (KNs)

[0086] Some KNs 224 will now be described. Other KNs 224 are also possible. The KNs 224 and their examples described below are provided for the purpose of illustration only. In general, KNs 224 can provide statistical and relational data between columns in the database 201 or among data packs 221 in a single column.

Value-Pack Histogram (HIST)

[0087] The scope of the HIST object or HIST knowledge node may be a single numerical column. The HIST object contains binary information about the existence of a given value, or any value from a given interval, in the respective data pack 221. The HIST object is used, for example, to refine condition checking (e.g., exclusion of a data pack 221 when it is known that a specific value is not present within that data pack 221) and joining (e.g., exclusion of pairs of data packs 221 when their histograms are disjoint).
[0088] The HIST object stores binary information about whether the data pack 221 has any data elements with values in a given interval. The default number of intervals may be 1024, excluding minimum and maximum values, or it may be some other number. The intervals may be fixed-sized intervals, depending on minimum and maximum values in a pack. Alternately, the intervals may be of variable size, such as with smaller intervals where the values have a higher distribution and larger intervals where the distribution is lower, for example where the values have a bi-modal distribution. The interval sizes may also be variable depending on what range of values have a higher frequency of queries. If the difference between the minimum and maximum values is less than the default or selected number of intervals, and the column is fixed-size (e.g., integer or decimal), then exact data values may be used as the intervals.
[0089] The HIST object may implement a function called IsValue (v1, v2) where v1 and v2 are two numerical values defining an interval. The result of the function may be one of three values: RS_NONE if none of the entries in a data pack have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2; RS_SOME if some of the entries in a data pack have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2; and RS_ALL if all of the entries in a data pack have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2.
[0090] One example of this knowledge node is illustrated in FIG. 6A. In this example, data elements 602 have a minimum value of 1 and a maximum value of 9. Since the difference between the minimum and maximum values is less than the default resolution of 1024, the exact values are stored. The HIST object 604 uses binary values to indicate the presence of certain values (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9) with a 1 bit. In this example, IsValue(1, 4) would return RS_SOME, IsValue(7, 8) would return RS_NONE, and IsValue(1, 9) would return RS_ALL.

Pack-Pack Join (JPP)

[0091] The scope of the JPP object may be any two columns from different base tables. The JPP object contains binary information about whether a given pair of data packs 221 containing column data from different base tables has any common value, except nulls. The JPP object may be used, for example, as an additional criterion while joining to exclude pairs of data packs 221 which are not joinable.
[0092] The JPP object may implement a function called GetValue (p1, p2) where p1 and p2 refer to two data packs 221. The result of the function may be a Boolean: True where data packs p1 and p2 may have non-empty intersection, and False where data packs p1 and p2 have no common values.

Character Map (CMAP)

[0093] The scope of the CMAP may be a single text column. The CMAP object is a binary map indicating existence of any character at any position. For example, for every position n (which may be limited to up to 64 characters) a binary string of 256 bits (32 bytes) is prepared. The size of the binary string may be different, depending on the application. A value ‘1’ on character i means that there is at least one record in the data pack 221 for which there exists character i on position n. Characters at positions starting from 65 may be ignored, although the number of positions considered may be greater or smaller, or there may be no limit. The CMAP object may be larger than the HIST object for numerical values, but may be used for many optimizations, serving as statistics for sorter definitions and providing quick answers for some queries with ‘LIKE’ and other text predicates.
[0094] The CMAP object may implement a function called IsValue (v1, v2) where v1 and v2 are two string values defining an interval. The result of the function may be one of three values: RS_NONE if none of the entries in a data pack have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2; RS_SOME if some of the entries in a data pack 221 have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2; and RS_ALL if all of the entries in a data pack 221 have a value within the interval defined by v1 and v2.
[0095] The CMAP object may also implement a function called IsLike (string) where string is a string instance that CMAP looks for in the column. The result of the function may be one of three values: RS_NONE if none of the entries in a data pack 221 matches the pattern; RS_SOME if some of the entries in a data pack 221 match the pattern; and RS_ALL if all of the entries in a data pack 221 match the pattern.
[0096] The CMAP object may also implement functions called GetMin (pack) and GetMax (pack) where pack is a data pack 221 in the database 201. The result of these functions may be a string composed of the minimum or maximum characters of the histogram at every position in the data pack 221 for the GetMin (pack) and GetMax (pack) functions respectively.
[0097] One example of this knowledge node is illustrated in FIG. 6B, where data elements 606 result in CMAP object 608. In this example, CMAP object 608 may be case-insensitive, meaning that CMAP object 608 will indicate the presence of a certain character with a 1 bit regardless of whether it is uppercase or lowercase. Hence, the element “Banana” results in a 1 bit indicator for “B” at position 1 and for “A” at positions 2 and 4. In other implementations, CMAP object 608 may be case sensitive, may include special symbols, and/or may include numerical data. While the CMAP object 606 is only shown with letters A-I and positions 1-4, any combination of alphanumeric characters, typically all letters of the alphabet, may be included, and any number of character positions may be included.

Graph Node

[0098] The scope of a Graph Node may be two or more columns within a single table. Graph Node knowledge nodes may represent information about dependencies between the data elements of the columns. Graph Nodes may have the structure of a graph having multiple nodes connected by paths, each path being labelled by a query-like condition. Thus, as the graph is traversed along the paths, the query-like condition of each path is added, such that a certain node in the graph contains information that satisfies all the conditions in the paths leading up to that node.
[0099] While the Graph Node associated with one column may contain information on the data elements of that one column in the table, the paths may be labelled with conditions related to the other columns in the table. The Graph Node may contain a base node that provides information on the associated column without any additional condition.
[0100] One example of this knowledge node is illustrated in FIG. 6C. In this example, the Graph Node includes nodes containing information about the data elements in column A in a table. In this example, column A contains alphanumeric data elements, so the information about column A resembles a CMAP object. However, the Graph Node also contains CMAP objects calculated under additional conditions specified over columns B and C, belonging to the same table. The node 610 contains a CMAP of column A without satisfying any other condition. The presence of bit ‘1’ at row 1, column 2 of node 610 indicates that column A contains a data element having a string that has character ‘A’ at the second position. Traversing to node 612 applies the condition C=‘dom’, resulting in a CMAP of data elements in column A that share a row with a data element in column C that contains the string ‘dom’. Node 612 has a bit ‘0’ at row 1, column 2, indicating that there is no data element in column A with a string having ‘a’ at position 2 that satisfies the condition C=‘dom’. A similar node 614 can be constructed for the condition B>7. Nodes 612 and 614 can be further combined in node 616, which contains information satisfying both C=‘dom’ and B>7. Node 618 shows that similar operations can be carried out for other query-like conditions.

Foreign Node

[0101] The scope of a Foreign Node may be two or more columns in two or more tables. A Foreign Node may contain information similar to that stored in DPNs and KNs, but rather than being derived from the data elements of the table to which is it associated, a Foreign Node may contain information based on data elements of a different table. The Foreign Node for a first data pack in a first table may have information based on one or more second data packs in a second table, the second data packs and the first data pack having a relationship of interest, which may be a query-like condition. The relationship of interest may be between rows of data elements in the data packs rather than the data packs in their entirety, but the Foreign Node may still be associated with the data packs. In this way, the Foreign Node allows not only the identification of data packs that contain data elements satisfying a certain column-to-column or table-to-table relationship, but also provides information on the data elements satisfying that relationship.
[0102] One example of this knowledge node is illustrated in FIG. 6D. In this example, a simple database contains Table 1 and Table 2, each having four rows of numeric data elements (numbered 1 to 4), with data packs each containing two rows of data elements. Table 1 contains columns A and B while Table 2 contains column C. Consider the following query:

T1.A=1 AND T1.B=T2.C

[0103] That is, the query seeks to find all instances in column A where the data element has the value 1 and where the value in the corresponding row in column B has an equal value in column C. As shown by the lines linking elements in column B to elements in column C, there are several instances where T1.B=T2.C, and this may be indicated by other knowledge nodes, such as the JPP object described above. However, only row 1 has a data element in column A equal to 1 where the value in column B has an equal value in column C, as required by the query. A JPP object may indicate rows 1, 2 and 4 without providing specific information on the data elements, and direct access to the data elements of all three rows may be required to resolve the above query.
[0104] Foreign Nodes may allow information about column A to be stored in a KN associated with column C. In this example, for the top data pack 620 in column C, there are two equal values in column B, namely in rows 2 and 4. The corresponding values in column A are 2 and 0, respectively. This information is used to create Foreign Node 624 for data pack 620. Foreign Node 624 contains the minimum and maximum values, and a histogram for column A for data elements belonging to a row that satisfies the relationship T1.B=T2.C. The Foreign Node 624 indicates that the minimum value is 0, the maximum value is 2, and the presence of the values 0 and 2 is indicated with a ‘1’ bit, the absence of the value 1 is indicated with a ‘0’ bit. Similarly, for the bottom data pack 622 in column C, the data elements of interest in column A contain the values 0, 1, and 2. The Foreign Node 626 for data pack 622 indicates that the minimum value is 0, the maximum value is 2, and the presence of the values 0, 1 and 2 is indicated with a ‘1’ bit.
[0105] Thus, by considering the Foreign Nodes of Table 2, it can be determined that the top data pack 620 does not satisfy the query since there is no corresponding data element in A with the value 1. Hence, only the data elements of the bottom data pack 622 need to be considered, thus decreasing the required amount of direct access to the data elements.

Examples of Use of Knowledge Nodes

[0106] Examples illustrating the use of KNs 224 will now be described. These examples are provided for the purpose of illustration only. Assume there are two base tables, table T and table X. Table T includes columns A, B and C (there may be more in table T, but they are not relevant to the example). Columns A and C contain numeric data. Column B contains string data. Each of columns A, B and C in table T is represented by 5 data packs for every column as illustrated below:
[00001] [TABLE-US-00001]
    TABLE T
   
    Column A   Column B   Column C
    (numeric)   (string)   (numeric)
   
    Data pack 1   Data pack 1   Data pack 1
    Data pack 2   Data pack 2   Data pack 2
    Data pack 3   Data pack 3   Data pack 3
    Data pack 4   Data pack 4   Data pack 4
    Data pack 5   Data pack 5   Data pack 5
   
[0107] Table X includes columns D and E. Columns D and E contain numeric data. Each of columns D and E in table X are represented by 3 data packs for every column as illustrated below:
[00002] [TABLE-US-00002]
    TABLE X
   
    Column D   Column E
    (numeric)   (numeric)
   
    Data pack 1   Data pack 1
    Data pack 2   Data pack 2
    Data pack 3   Data pack 3
   

Character Map (CMAP)

[0108] Consider the following query:

SELECT MAX (A) FROM T WHERE B=‘good’;

[0109] Assume that the data pack 1 for column A has a MAX=5, data pack 2 for column A has a MAX=2, data pack 3 for column A has a MAX=8, data pack 4 for column A has a MAX=5, and data pack 5 for column A has a MAX=10. For every data pack for column B, the function IsLike (‘good’) is executed. Assume the following results: data pack 1 for column B has a result=RS_ALL, data pack 2 for column B has a result=RS_SOME, data pack 3 for column B has a result=RS_NONE, data pack 4 for column B has a result=RS_NONE, and data pack 5 for column B has a result=RS_SOME.
[0110] Combining the above information about A and B indicates the following:
[0111] Data pack 1 for column A has MAX=5, so no decompression is needed because all data relevant (all data records in data pack 1 for column match).
[0112] Data pack 2 for column A has a MAX=2, so these records are ignored irrespective of the data in column B since we already know that MAX(A) will be at least 5 because of results from the data pack 1 on A. Hence no decompression is needed.
[0113] Data packs 3 and 4 for column A are not relevant, because these were excluded by the filter on column B since there was no match on column B.
[0114] Data pack 5 for column A and B requires decompression because the number of relevant values (all/none) cannot be determined. For A some records have A>5, and for B some of the records match, but it cannot be said whether there is a match where A>5, and if so the MAX (A) cannot be determined.
[0115] Thus, the final result of the query will be the maximum of 5 (from data pack 1 on column A) and the result of the analysis of data pack 5 (i.e., the maximum value subject to the filter B=‘good’ for single records in the data pack).

Pack-Pack Join (PPJ) and Value-Pack Histogram (HIST)

[0116] Consider the following query:

SELECT MAX (T.A) FROM T JOIN X ON T.C=X.D WHERE T.B=‘good’ AND X.E<5;

[0117] The filter B=‘good’ may be applied in table T in the same manner as in the previous example. Hence, only data packs 1, 2 and 5 from table T are going to participate in the calculations. Now for every data pack for column E in table X we apply the HIST object's function Is Value (5, n) where n equals the maximum value for column E in table X (which is determined from column E's DPNs 222). Assume the following results:
[0118] Data pack 1 for column E has a result of RS_SOME,
[0119] Data pack 2 for column E has a result of RS_ALL, and
[0120] Data pack 3 for column E has a result of RS_NONE.
[0121] Therefore, data pack 3 for column E can be ignored in further calculations as none of the records are relevant. Going further to the JOIN operation, we know that the data packs to be involved are data pack 1, 2 and 5 for column C in table T, as well as data packs 1 and 2 for column D in table X. Consider that JPP for T.C and X.D is given and it results as follows for function GetValue (C's data pack from table T, D's data pack from table X):
[0122] Data pack 1 on column C and data pack 1 on D is false,
[0123] Data pack 1 on column C and data pack 2 on D is false,
[0124] Data pack 2 on column C and data pack 1 on D is true,
[0125] Data pack 2 on column C and data pack 2 on D is false,
[0126] Data pack 5 on column C and data pack 1 on D is true, and
[0127] Data pack 5 on column C and data pack 2 on D is false.
[0128] Thus, the results narrow down the column C's data packs which are going to participate in the calculation of MAX(T.A) to data packs 2 and 5 because the elements of data pack 1 are not going to occur in a joined table (neither with elements of data packs 1 nor 2 for D). Hence, data packs 2 and 5 for column A are decompressed and the maximum is calculated subject to the filter B=‘good’ in table T.

Compression Algorithms

[0129] The compression of column data within data packs 221, as opposed to compressing entire columns, may yield higher compression ratios than if an entire column where compressed because of the ability to identify relationships or redundancies within each data pack 221 that may not exist over the entire column, thereby providing a basis for a potential higher compression ratio within the data pack 221.
[0130] To compress a sequence of data elements, relationships or redundancies are found between the elements. There may be many possible relations, applicable to numeric values, alphanumeric values, or both, non-limiting examples of which are as follows:
[0131] 1. All numbers fall into the same range [min, max];
[0132] 2. Some values may appear frequently in the sequence (frequent values);
[0133] 3. A group of bits (usually the highest, sometimes the lowest) may be similar in all elements of the sequence or may have highly non-uniform distribution;
[0134] 4. A group of bits at a given position in each element may have highly non-uniform distribution;
[0135] 5. Repetitions may occur frequently;
[0136] 6. Neighbouring elements may be correlated;
[0137] 7. All elements may be divisible by the same value>=2; and
[0138] 8. A few elements may take very different values than the rest.

Filter Cascade

[0139] These relations/redundancies are utilized in filtering and compressing the data using a series of compression filter stages in a filter cascade, as illustrated in FIG. 7A, in which the compression filter stages 703a-n are arranged, for example, with the output of one compression filter stage (e.g., 703a) providing the input to a subsequent compression filter stage (e.g., 703b). The filter cascade may be provided with an uncompressed data input 701. Each compression filter stage 703a-n applies a data filter 702a-n and a compression block 704a-n. Each data filter 702a-n in the series may be designed to detect and filter out a different type of relationship/redundancy in the data. At each data filter 702a-n, a description of the relationship/redundancy may be sent as reconstruction data to be encoded by the compression block 704a-n using a standard compression algorithm and filtered from the data. The compression algorithm may be different for each compression filter stage 703a-n, and may have different parameters, depending on the data filter 702a-n and/or the input data. Commonly used compression algorithms apply arithmetic or range coding. Other suitable codes include Shannon-Fano-Elias code, Shannon code, Huffinan code, Rice code, Golomb code, Tunstall code, and prediction by partial matching (PPM). The output of the compression block 704a-n is then sent to the filter stream 708. The filter stream 708 may include the output of each compression block 704a-n appended together. The filtered data of compression filter stage 703a forms the filter output 706a of that compression filter stage 703a and may be sent as the input of the next compression filter stage 703b. This may be repeated for each compression filter stage 703a-n in the series.
[0140] In some aspects, at the end of the filter cascade, the final compression filter stage 703n sends all of its data input to the compression block 703n, so that it has no filter output. Thus, at the end of the filter cascade, all the data may be compressed and represented in the filter stream 708. Typically, the last compression filter stage 703n in the filter cascade may assume its input data has uniform distribution and may compress all of its input data. The filter stream 708 may have an uncompressed information header at the start of the compressed data, which stores information (e.g., in the form of binary flags) indicating which compression filter stages 703a-n were applied during compression. In some aspects, this information header may be stored in the column description file described above.
[0141] In some aspects, during decompression, two passes through the filter cascade may be used. The first pass is from the beginning to the end, in the same order as during compression, to load the encoded descriptions of each compression filter stage 703a-n from the filter stream 708. The second pass is in the reverse order to reconstruct the original data from the filter stream 708. Each data filter 702a-n may have its own reconstruction and/or decompression algorithm. Alternatively, the information header may be designed to eliminate the need for the first pass of the two passes described above.
[0142] Reference is next made to FIG. 7B which illustrates processing of data by the filter cascade for compression, and FIG. 7C which illustrates processing of data by the filter cascade for decompression.
[0143] For compression (FIG. 7B), at step 710 the data may be introduced to the filter cascade.
[0144] The next compression filter stage in the cascade (i.e., the first compression filter stage in the case where the data is first introduced) may be considered for effectiveness at a step 712. In considering the compression filter stage, it may be evaluated to determine whether using the data filter of that filter stage improves the compression of the data. Each filter stage may have its own method of evaluation that evaluates or predicts the effectiveness of applying the data filter. This will be discussed in greater detail further below, with reference to some data filters. At a step 714 if the data filter is found to provide acceptable or improved compression, then the compression filter stage may be selected to be used and the process proceeds to a step 716. If not, the compression filter stage may be not selected for use and the process may return to step 712. What constitutes acceptable compression resulting in use of a particular filter stage may be fully configurable depending on the design criteria of a particular application.
[0145] At the step 716, the data filter is applied to the data. Reconstruction information, which may include the relationship/redundancies filtered out from the data, may be sent to the compression block. While the step 716 may be only arrived at if the data filter evaluated at the step 714 is considered to provide a certain level of compression, in some aspects steps 716-720 will always be executed for the last compression filter stage, as described above with reference to FIG. 7A.
[0146] At a step 718, the reconstruction information is compressed by the compression block of the filter stage, and the compressed reconstruction information may be provided to the filter stream. The remaining filtered data may be provided as the filter output. The reconstruction information may include information on how to reconstruct the input data from the filtered data.
[0147] At a step 720, if there is a subsequent compression filter stage to be evaluated or considered for use in the filter cascade, then the filter output may be sent as the input data for the next compression filter stage and the process returns to step 710. If there are no more filters, the process ends. At the end of the filter cascade, all the original data may be compressed in the filter stream and the filter output may be empty.
[0148] If there is a subsequent filter stage, but the filter output is already empty, the subsequent filter stage may be not used and the process may end. This may occur where the data is redundant enough that removal of certain redundancies filters all the data for inclusion in the filter stream, for example, in data where all elements have a high frequency of occurrence. Indication that the subsequent filter stage was not used may be added to the filter stream or to the header data, so that the data can be properly reconstructed during decompression.
[0149] FIG. 7C illustrates an operation for decompression of compressed data. At a step 740, the filter input may be initialized to empty.
[0150] Next, at a step 742, the filter input may be provided to the filter cascade. At the start of the decompression process, the filter input may be typically empty. In some aspects, the filter input may be initialized to contain some data, for example where some of the data was already decompressed or was not compressed. Next, at a step 744, the filter cascade is applied in the reverse order to the order described above for compression. In some aspects, the order in which compression took place may be pre-set and known. If the compression order is not known, this information may be provided in an uncompressed header block associated with the compressed data. The compression order may also be provided in an information header (e.g. a column description file) associated with the compressed data file.
[0151] In some aspects, there may be a preliminary step (not shown) in which the compressed data may be processed by the filter cascade in the same order as during compression. This preliminary step allows extraction of data reconstruction information, such as identification of which filter stages were applied, for each filter stage from the filter stream. This preliminary step may also partition the filter stream into blocks of compressed data generated by separate compression filter stages.
[0152] Next, at a step 746, the filter stream may be read by the filter stage and the reconstruction information may be extracted. The reconstruction information may be decompressed by applying a corresponding decoding algorithm according to the compression algorithm used. The reconstruction information may be relevant only to the particular filter stage being considered, or it may contain information for other filter stages in the cascade, in which case only the relevant information may be considered.
[0153] Next, at a step 748, the reconstruction information is used to reconstruct the data from the filter stream. The method of reconstruction may be unique to each filter stage. If the filter stream has passed through the entire filter cascade in reverse as appropriate, the data may now be fully reconstructed. Otherwise, the data may be only partially reconstructed. The fully or partially reconstructed data may be written to the output of the filter cascade.
[0154] Next, at a step 750, if there is another filter stage in the reverse cascade, the process proceeds to a step 752 where the output (e.g., the partially reconstructed data) of the previous filter stage may be provided as the filter input for the next filter stage. The process then returns to the step 742 to move to the next filter stage. If there are no more filter stages in the reverse cascade, the output may now consist of the fully reconstructed data and the process ends. In the case where the compressed data is fully recoverable, the output consists of fully reconstructed data that may be identical to the original uncompressed data.
[0155] The filter cascade may be flexible in that it may separate different types of redundancies which simplifies filter design and implementation, may allow easy switching on/off of some of the filter stages, and may allow the same type of filter stage to be used several times in the series. In some aspects, the order in which the filter stages are applied may be varied, and may be dynamically varied. Some examples of the types of the data filters that may be used are described below. These examples are for the purpose of illustration only. Some data filters may be used with numeric data only, alphanumeric data only, or both:
[0156] 1. Min: subtracts the minimum of all data elements from each element of the data, thus reducing the range of the data; the value of the minimum is compressed and sent to the filter stream. To reconstruct the data, the minimum value is decompressed and added onto each element.
[0157] In evaluating whether to use this filter, typically the Min filter may be applied if it reduces the range of the data elements. In general, this means that if the data elements have a non-zero, preferably positive minimum value, the Min filter may be applied.
[0158] 2. GCD: determines the Greatest Common Divisor (GCD) of all data elements, and divides each element by the GCD; the value of the GCD is compressed and sent to the filter stream. To reconstruct the data, each element is multiplied by the GCD.
[0159] Typically, the GCD filter may be applied if a GCD exists. In general, this means that if the data elements have a GCD greater than 1, the GCD filter may be applied.
[0160] 3. Diff: calculates a differenced sequence consisting of differences between pairs of subsequent elements (i.e., between element n and element n+1), and sends the differenced sequence to the next stage of compression. In some aspects, the first element in the sequence is unchanged. Values of differences may be taken modulo (max_value+1), where max_value is the maximum value of all data elements. The result is that any difference that is less than zero will have max_value added to it, so they fall into the same range as the original values, while data reconstruction is still possible. The max_value is compressed and sent to the filter stream.
[0161] Reconstruction of data filtered through the Diff filter may be done as follows: the first element is unchanged, so it is taken as-is; the second element is reconstructed by adding the second element of the difference sequence to the first element; the third element is reconstructed by adding the third element of the difference sequence to the reconstructed second element, and so on through the entire difference sequence. If modulo was applied to the difference sequence, this also should be reversed in order to recover the data exactly. To do this, the max_value is decompressed from the filter stream. Then any reconstructed element that has a value greater than max_value will have max_value subtracted from that element.
[0162] Determination of whether the Diff filter may be applied may be typically based on calculations of the entropy of the data with and without applying the filter. The differences of the data are calculated and the entropy of the differenced data is compared to the entropy of the original data. If the entropy of the differenced data is smaller, then the Diff filter may be applied. In order to speed up calculations, in some aspects, this determination may be based only on a sample of the data. For example, only 5% of the data may be differenced and used for entropy comparison. In some aspects, the entropy may be calculated using only certain bits of the data, for example the top 8 and bottom 8 bits separately. When only 8 bits are considered, only 256 different values may occur, which results in entropy calculations that are easier and more reliable. If all values in the data are shorter than 16 bits, the number of bottom bits considered may be appropriately decreased. If all values in the data are shorter than 8 bits, only the 8 top bits may be used to calculate entropy.
[0163] 4. PartDict: builds a partial dictionary of values occurring in the sequence and uses it to compress the data with a standard encoding algorithm, such as range coding (RC). The frequency of each value in the dictionary may be also stored to calculate probabilities for compression. The dictionary is referred to as partial because only frequent values are stored, meaning values having a number of occurrences above a certain constant threshold, which may be pre-determined. If a rare or non-frequent value occurs in the sequence during encoding, a special escape symbol is encoded and the rare value is left in the sequence, forming the filter output for input to the next filter in the filter cascade. Frequent values are removed from the data after encoding. Before encoding of the data, the dictionary is compressed sent to the filter stream. The encoded sequence of frequent values is also sent to the filter stream.
[0164] Typically, determination of whether to apply the PartDict filter may be based on a comparison of the compressed data size after applying both the PartDict filter and the Uniform filter (discussed below) and the compressed data size after applying the Uniform filter alone. It may be possible to predict the compressed data sizes for both cases without actually carrying out the compression using mathematical techniques common in information theory, such as by estimating the average code length (i.e., the size of each compressed element) based on the entropy of the corresponding probability distributions of symbols. If the predicted compressed data size after applying both the PartDict and the Uniform filters is smaller than after applying the Uniform filter alone, then the PartDict filter may be applied.
[0165] An example of compression using PartDict is shown in FIG. 8. Input data 802 contains elements with certain frequencies of occurrence. In this example, an element is considered to have a high frequency of occurrence if it occurs at least twice. Thus, frequent values are 2, 3 and 5; rare values are 1, 4 and 6. The frequent values are placed in a dictionary 804 with their associated frequencies of occurrence. Rare values 812 are assigned the symbol ESC. The frequent values are removed from the input data 802 and placed in a frequent value sequence 806 along with ESC where the rare values 812 should occur. The probability distribution stored in the dictionary 804 is used to encode the frequent value sequence 806 using a standard coder 808, applying an encoding algorithm, such as RC or arithmetic coding (AC). The dictionary 804 and the coded frequent value sequence are included in the filter stream 810. The rare values 812 form the filter output 814.
[0166] FIG. 9 shows the decompression of this example. The dictionary is decompressed from the filter stream 810. The probability distribution from the dictionary 804 is used with the coder 808 to decode and recover the decoded frequent value sequence 816. The rare values 812 are provided from the output of the previous filter in the decompression process. The ESC symbols are replaced with the rare values 812 to recover the reconstructed input data 818. This example is for the purpose of illustration only.
[0167] 5. TopBitDict: builds a full dictionary of a group of the top bits of all elements of the data. The dictionary also stores frequencies of occurrence of each group of top bits. The dictionary is compressed and sent to the filter stream. The top bits of each element of the data are compressed by encoding with a standard compression algorithm such as RC, using the probability distribution represented by the dictionary. The encoded sequence of top bits is sent to the filter stream. The lower bits of the elements are left in the sequence, forming the filter output, and passed to the next stage. The number of top bits used for encoding may be chosen so as to minimize the predicted length of the compressed data. Decompression is similar to that of PartDict. Evaluation of whether to apply the TopBitDict filter may be done using predicted compressed data size, similar to the technique for the PartDict filter.
[0168] 6. LowBitDict: similar to TopBitDict, for the lowest bits of each element.
[0169] 7. Outliers: considers the values of the elements rather than their frequencies of occurrence. First, outliers are detected in the data sequence by finding a small number of elements which have much larger or much smaller values than certain statistics (which may be dependent on the data type) calculated for the rest of the elements. The threshold for determining what is considered an outlier may be pre-determined or it may be dynamically selected, depending on the data. In some cases, the number of values that may be considered outliers may be pre-determined. Then, the outliers are removed from the data sequence. The positions and values of the outliers are compressed and sent to the filter stream. The data sequence with the outliers removed forms the filter output. Reconstruction of the data may be done by decompressing the values of the outliers and their position information and merging this information with the sequence of non-outliers.
[0170] Typically, determination of whether to apply the Outliers filter may be done using predicted compressed data size, similar to the technique for the PartDict filter. In some aspects, entropy calculations may be performed to predict or to evaluate the optimum number of values that may be considered outliers.
[0171] 8. Uniform: assumes uniform distribution of the data in the range of [0, max_value] and compresses all elements of the data by encoding with a standard encoding algorithm, such as RC. The filter output may be typically empty, and this filter typically may be the last filter in the filter cascade for compression.
[0172] In addition to the data filters described above, there may also be a mechanism for detection of repetitions of the same record. Before compression of the next record, it may be checked whether it is the same as the previous record. If so, it may be given a certain encoding, e.g., bit ‘1’. Otherwise, bit ‘0’ may be encoded. Use of this mechanism may improve the compression ratio and speed by 8%.
[0173] Compression filter stages containing the above-described data filters may be applied according to the ordering listed above, or the ordering may be dynamically rearranged and some of the filter stages may be repeated based on the intermediate results of the output from preceding filter stages. Before applying a filter stage a check may be optionally performed to determine if the filter stage should be applied. This check uses the intermediate results to determine whether for efficiency purposes the filter stage should be applied, (e.g., if the associated relationship/redundancy considered by the filter stage exists and if the application of the filter would result in compression gains sufficient to warrant the application of the filter, given the associated performance costs of compression and decompression).

Compression of NULL Masks and Binary Columns

[0174] The occurrences of 0 and 1 in the data column are counted to calculate probabilities of 0 and 1 which are then passed to a standard compression algorithm, such as Arithmetic Coding (AC), which can yield a compression ratio of 2.6 to 1 on average. In some data packs there may be correlations between neighbouring bits. To utilize this fact, the sequence may be differenced. Entropy, a well-known measure applied to probabilities, may be calculated for the differenced sequence. If the entropy of the differenced sequence is lower than the entropy of the original sequence, the differenced sequence may be encoded instead of the original sequence. This is similar to the Diff filter. Then, during decoding, the reverse operation may be performed. This modification may give an average compression ratio of 3.5 to 1.

String Compression

[0175] Strings may be also compressed using a compression algorithm selected for the string data type. As in the case of numeric and binary data, the sequence of string values taken from a given data pack (e.g., for a database column keeping alphanumeric data) is first cleaned of NULLs and is then put through the filter cascade, as shown in FIG. 7A. The output from each applied filter stage may take the form of a sequence of string values. The general scheme of the filter cascade while compressing and decompressing data may remain the same as before.
[0176] The list of available filter stages for sequences of string values remains open, as in the cases of other data types. An example of a filter which is applicable to string values is PartDict. The work of PartDict, both during compression and decompression of a sequence of string values may be similar to the case of numeric values. In some aspects, strings may be compressed using an algorithm based on Prediction by Partial Matching (PPM), which is commonly used for text compression. PPM is an adaptive technique. PPM attempts to predict the next symbol in a string on the basis of the preceding symbols (i.e., the context). PPM is discussed in detail in, for example, “Data Compression” by David Salomon, 3rd edition, Springer-Verlag, 2004, Chapter 2.18; and in “Introduction to Data Compression” by Khalid Sayood, 3rd edition, Morgan-Kaufmann, 2005, Chapter 6.3, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. PPM compresses strings using a probability distribution for each symbol in a string based on the preceding symbols. This probability distribution may be updated continuously as more symbols are encountered in the string. PPM may be used to compress strings using a dictionary containing the probability distribution of each symbol.
[0177] Some implementations of PPM attempt to predict the next symbol using all preceding symbols as the context, while other implementations use a fixed length context. If this prediction is not possible, the context may be reduced by removing a preceding symbol from the context. This may be repeated until a prediction can be made, or until there are no more symbols in the context. When no symbols remain in the context, a fixed prediction may be made, which may be based on an assumption of uniform distribution of all possible symbols. When a never-before seen symbol is encountered, an escape symbol may be used and a predetermined probability may be assigned to the new symbol.
[0178] Simply using PPM alone may be cumbersome because of the large amount of memory required to store the context, especially in the case where all preceding symbols are used as the context. In such an implementation, searching for a given context in an encoded part of the string would give O(n2) complexity. Instead, a trie or suffix tree data structure may be used to represent the string. These data structures store the symbols in branching nodes in tree form. These data structures permit faster context searching through the use of pointers back to earlier nodes, such pointers being known as suffix links. Use of a trie or a suffix tree for implementation of PPM is known in the art, and variations are possible. The probability distribution for use in PPM may also be stored in the data structure, for example as weights on the nodes of a tree. This probability distribution may be continuously updated as the symbols are processed.
[0179] PPM has been used to compress a large portion of text, such as an entire text file. To use PPM for compression of a sequence of short strings, there are several approaches. PPM may be used to compress each string separately, however this method may not be able to exploit any similarity between strings. Another method may be to concatenate the strings, perhaps separated by a special symbol, and compress the result as a single string; however this method may not be able to exploit information about string boundaries to improve compression. Another method may be to modify PPM to hold a sequence of strings, instead of a single string. In this modification, the data structure may be modified to represent suffixes of all processed strings, and at the beginning of compression of the next string, the context may be reset to empty (e.g., the root node of the tree in the case of a tree data structure).
[0180] In some aspects, a Compact Directed Acyclic Word Graph (CDAWG) data structure may be used to implement PPM. A CDAWG is a data structure for storing alphanumeric data in a way that permits fast word searching with decreased space requirements. CDAWGs have been used for alphanumeric data storage. Aside from use in text searches, CDAWGs have also been used in analysis of DNA sequences in bioinformatics.
[0181] Using a CDAWG as the data structure may provide the advantages that the data is stored in a compact form, and that the space requirements are minimized. The data in a CDAWG may be stored in a compact form as in a suffix tree, where the edges (i.e., the path between adjacent nodes) of the tree may be labelled by more than one symbol, so that moving between adjacent nodes may give more than one symbol. The data tree in a CDAWG may be minimized as in a Directed Acyclic Word Graph (DAWG), where equivalent nodes of the tree are merged into a single node, thus avoiding redundant nodes.
[0182] Certain implementations of CDAWG may require input of all the symbols before the CDAWG is created. This may be time-consuming and impractical where there is a large amount of data. In other implementations, the CDAWG may be created on-line (e.g., in linear time, as the data is being read) using the algorithm disclosed in Inenaga et al., “On-line construction of compact directed acyclic word graphs”, Discrete Applied Mathematics 146(2):156-179, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. By creating the CDAWG on-line, the alphanumeric data may be read through one symbol at a time, and the CDAWG may be created with suffix links, so that each subsequent symbol can be efficiently added to the CDAWG.
[0183] The probability distribution of each symbol may be also calculated and updated on-line as the data is being read, thus creating a CDAWG that has the additional feature of weights for each node and/or edge corresponding to the probability or frequency of that node and/or edge. As each symbol is read, the structure of the CDAWG may be modified as needed, and the probability distribution of that symbol may be updated. When a never-before seen symbol is encountered, an escape symbol may be used and a predetermined probability may be assigned to the new symbol. In some aspects, when a new symbol is processed, the CDAWG may be traversed to see if a node for the symbol already exists. As the CDAWG is traversed, each edge and/or node that is passed may have its weight or probability distribution updated (e.g., by increasing the weight). If the node that is needed does not exist, a new node and an associated escape symbol may be created in the CDAWG, thus changing the structure of the CDAWG. In this way, a CDAWG containing probability distributions for each symbol is created on-line. The probability distributions can then be used as a dictionary for compression using PPM.
[0184] In some aspects, the dictionary created by the data structure (e.g., suffix tree or CDAWG) may be recalculated and reduced from time to time, to keep its size down where storage space is limited. This may be using a process similar to the PartDict filter, where strings or symbols with lower frequencies may be pruned from the data structure.
[0185] PPM using CDAWG may offer an improvement over PPM using suffix trees especially for compression of a sequence of short strings, as commonly found in databases. For such data, a CDAWG data structure may contain over 10 times fewer nodes and 5 times fewer edges, the memory required may be 7-10 times less, and the compression speed may be several times faster than if using a suffix tree.
[0186] In some aspects, more than one symbol may be encoded in one step of the compression algorithm. This is possible because in CDAWG and in suffix trees, an edge may be labelled by several symbols rather than a single symbol. In order to account for the situation where the string to be encoded matches only the beginning part of an edge label, the number of symbols matching the edge label may also be encoded in addition to the choice of the edge. This number may have highly non-uniform and bi-modal distribution, which can be exploited to improve the compression ratio.
[0187] Other possible implementation details include partial updates of data frequencies, unbounded context length (e.g., where all preceding symbols are used as the context), constant frequency for the escape symbol (e.g., the escape symbol may be given a probability assuming uniform distribution), implementation of exclusions (e.g., correcting the probability distribution of a symbol in a certain context to exclude occurrences that are not possible), and use of a special start node in the data tree. Such implementations and techniques are not discussed here in detail, but are common in the art. Certain combinations of these details may provide a better compression speed and/or ratio.
[0188] In some aspects, the data structure (e.g., suffix tree or CDAWG) may be created when the data is first compressed, and may be discarded after compression. The data structure may be recreated every time the data is decompressed.

Query Optimization

[0189] Query optimization refers to the optimal choice of functions and ordering of functions to provide query results in the shortest amount of time. Query optimization may improve resolution of query results by decreasing the amount of data packs 221 that need to be retrieved from a storage medium, or that need to be accessed in memory. Query optimization involves simulating potential query execution plans to determine the optimal query execution plan to answer a query. Query optimization does not actually access or retrieve data, rather it uses information about the number of data packs 221 that will need to be accessed or retrieved to answer the query using DPNs 222 and KNs 224. If the data itself is not accessed retrieved, the query plan execution simulations may be substantially faster than the time required to actually execute the plan. Thus, query optimization in the RDBMS 200 may be closely related to query execution. Query optimization may simulate not only the overall candidate execution plans, but also the respective parts or execution steps to locate and avoid bottle necks that may occur in operations required to answer the query, for example delays that may occur as result of a non-optimal ordering of joining operations. During query optimization, query execution steps may include first carrying out database operations (e.g., sorting) using DPNs 222 and/or KNs 224 before carrying out the same operations on the individual data elements. For example, the data packs 221 may first be sorted using their respective DPNs 222 before sorting the data elements in each data pack 221.
[0190] Query optimization may be implemented by the Query Optimizer 208 (FIG. 1), which may be a functional program module. The Query Optimizer 208 may implement a heuristic program which begins with a candidate plan for the query execution plan, simulates the result, then uses the simulated results to determine the amount of data that needs to be accessed or execution time required by the candidate plan for the query execution plan. The Query Optimizer 208 may then attempt another candidate plan to determine if performance may be improved.
[0191] Query optimization may use techniques such as rough set analysis (RSA) techniques to determine which data packs 221 need to be accessed by analyzing the information of the DPNs 222 of each data pack 221 and the KNs 224 associated with each data pack 221. Query optimization may use the concept of positive region, negative region, and boundary region for dealing with data packs that are fully relevant, fully irrelevant, and partially relevant respectively. Data packs 221 determined to be in the positive region (e.g., fully relevant) sometimes need decompression if the information cannot be obtained directed from the DPN 222 or KN 224, although typically not. Negative region (e.g., fully irrelevant) data packs 221 do not need decompression. Boundary region (e.g., partially relevant) data packs 221 usually need decompression, however there may be some special cases where decompression is not required.
[0192] Query optimization may be carried out using rough queries as execution steps. A rough query allows for query results to be approximated using DPNs 222 and KNs 224. A rough query used as an execution step in optimization may help minimize the amount of direct data access and/or decompression needed by identifying which data packs 221 may contain relevant data.
[0193] Query optimization operations generally may include the following steps:
[0194] 1. Choose a candidate plan for the query execution plan;
[0195] 2. Simulate the data usage of the candidate plan at the level of data packs 221 using only estimates from the KNs 224 and without accessing (i.e., decompressing) the underlying data;
[0196] 3. Determining the potential usefulness of structures currently loaded in memory such as decompressed data packs 221, DPNs 222, and KNs 224;
[0197] 4. Determining the data amount of data packs 221 that need to be accessed (i.e., decoded or decompressed and loaded into memory), including possible cases when the same data packs 221 need to be accessed multiple times, and/or an estimate of the amount of time to execute the query; and
[0198] 5. Repeating steps 1 to 4 for the next execution plan candidates until the shortest execution time may be determined or a satisfactory execution time may be determined. For example, a satisfactory execution time threshold can be fixed based on historical or logged information about execution times of queries of comparable complexity or a timeout (e.g., this could occur after a fixed number of heuristic steps, or even before reaching it if there is no improvement in the heuristic search). Alternatively, the minimum required memory can be optimized (see step 4 above).
[0199] Each step in the above operation may be performed taking into account the result of the previous steps. If there is a series or conjunction of conditions calculated in series, then records and data packs 221 which are excluded earlier need not participate in the subsequent calculations.
[0200] Information in the KNs 224 and/or the DPNs 222 may be used in such a way as to optimize queries using minimal memory. In the case of a query that involves sorting, sorting may be performed using encoded or “token” forms of the original values or, in the case of multi-column sorting, vectors of values. Such tokens are generated based on KNs 224 or DPNs 222 of data packs that are relevant or partially relevant to a given query. Tokens replace the original values or the vectors of values while sorting. Sorting over tokens provides the same results as if the data were sorted by the original values or vectors of values. KNs 224 and DPNs 222 or irrelevant data packs are generally not used while producing the optimal token forms.
[0201] In one non-limiting example, where the KN 224 is a CMAP object, as described above, a query may be to sort strings. If the results of the query all contain character ‘x’ in the second position, then the second position may be ignored when encoding strings into tokens, since this position has no effect on the results of the frequent query. Similarly, if the second position of the query result always contains only a subset of characters (e.g., ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’ instead of the full alphabet), then a smaller code may be used to encode this position. Although this example describes CMAP-based optimization of encoding for queries involving sorting, similar encoding optimization may be carried out for other KNs 224 and DPNs 222, for different data types. By optimizing encoding at the level of the KNs 224 and the DPNs 222 rather than at the level of data elements, it may be possible to reduce memory requirements by exploiting relationships and redundancies that are not apparent at the level of individual data elements.
[0202] The DPNs 222 and the KNs 224 may be applied to sorting optimization also in the context of splitting data to be sorted into smaller portions that may be sorted separately and then merged in an optimal way. In this way, the DPNs 222 and the KNs 224 may help in further minimizing the size of the intermediate structures, such as those used for sorting in memory. For example, instead of minimizing the size of a single structure, the structure may be split into smaller structures, which may be processed faster separately, thus allowing for further memory optimization.
[0203] Information available in the DPNs 222 and the KNs 224 may influence the choice of a method for accomplishing a given task, for example a joining or sorting operation. If the method of accomplishing a task is already selected, the way of using the DPNs 222 and the KNs 224 may differ in the case of different methods. In one example, the DPNs 222 may be used to detect two or more portions of data that may be sorted separately. Based on the DPNs, it may be found that the set of all data packs for a given column may be split into subsets X and Y, where the minimum of each of the data packs belonging to X is greater than the maximum of each of the data packs belonging to Y. There may be more such subsets than just two. If subsets X and Y with such a strong property related to minima and maxima of the data packs are not found, then the data packs may be split into several smaller subsets in such a way that the merging of their elements sorted separately has a lower cost.

Query Optimization Example

[0204] The following example is for the purpose of illustration only. A partial example of a query optimization procedure will now be described. First, assume that the query to be resolved involves a joining of three columns, A, B and C where A>7, B<6, and C=“YES”. During query optimization, the first candidate execution partial plan may first join A and B and determine that this requires 1,000 data packs 221 to be accessed to answer the subquery of A>7 and B<6. The Query Optimizer 208 may then generate a second candidate execution partial plan where A and C are joined and determine that the subquery of A>7 and C=“YES” requires 100 data packs 221 to be accessed. The Query Optimizer 208 may then generate a third candidate execution partial plan where B and C are joined and determine that the subquery of B<6 and C=“YES” requires 10,000 data packs 221 to be accessed. In this case, the Query Optimizer 208 would choose to join the second candidate execution plan where A and B are joined, which minimizes the number of data packs 221 to be accessed, and then join the result with C so as to minimize the number of data packs 221 that need to be accessed to answer the query.
[0205] Hence, the query execution and optimization steps may interact within each other unlike in conventional RDBMSs. The query simulation performed during query optimization partially executes candidate execution plans and returns “intermediate results” to the Query Optimizer 208 for further analysis before continuing the execution of the query, and provides the possibility of further execution plan modifications if subsequent candidate plans improve performance. Thus, unlike conventional query optimization, the order in which subqueries are executed may be changed based on the intermediate results. Conventional query optimization and execution approaches typically use classical indices, do not allow optimization during execution, and require data to be accessed in the same order as in the query execution plan created by the query optimizer.
[0206] KN information may be used for optimization and specifying the query execution plan, for example, using pack-to-pack joins to determine which data packs need to be joined during execution, although KN information may also be used before at the optimization level. During execution itself, after the optimal plan is determined, DPNs 222 and data packs 221 may be utilized to answer the query. For example, the sums from particular data packs 221 may be obtained from DPNs 222 if the query requires the sum over some column.

Examples of Query Optimization Using Rough Queries

[0207] The following examples are for the purpose of illustration only. An example of rough query and iterative optimization for query optimization will now be described. Consider the following data packs in table T:
[00003] [TABLE-US-00003]
  TABLE T
 
  Data Pack A1: Min = 3; Max = 25   Data Pack B1: Min = 10; Max = 30
  Data Pack A2: Min = 1; Max = 15   Data Pack B2: Min = 10; Max = 20
  Data Pack A3: Min = 18;   Data Pack B3: Min = 5; Max = 50
  Max = 22
 
[0208] The minimum and maximum values of each data pack are stored in data pack nodes associated with each data pack, and in this example the data pack nodes are not compressed. The data pack nodes are included in the knowledge grid for this data set. Now consider the query SELECT MAX(A) FROM T WHERE B>15.
[0209] The first execution step is the following rough query:

ROUGH MAX(A) FROM T WHERE B>15

[0210] Using the knowledge grid, the results are that all data packs in column B are relevant, and that MAX(A) is at least 18.
[0211] To determine whether the answer to the query may be greater than 18, the next step is to identify the data packs that are still of interest in exceeding the value of 18. The following rough query is made:

ROUGH ID FROM T WHERE B>15 AND A>18

[0212] Here, ID is a command that returns the identity of the row of a data pack, together with the status of that data pack in terms of it being relevant or suspect for the specific query. Because MAX(A) is at least 18, data packs A2 and B2 become irrelevant. Hence, this rough query returns the result: 1S; 3S, where S denotes that the data pack is relevant or suspect.
[0213] Instead of using ID, the second step may be carried out using:

ROUGH A FROM T WHERE B>15 AND A>18

[0214] Where the result not only identifies relevant rows, but also estimations of the values of A in each row: 1S [3,25]; 3S [18,22].
[0215] The above information may be used to estimate within which data pack the actual maximum is most likely stored. This may be carried out using a heuristic algorithm (e.g., greedy, randomized, evolutionary, or other AI-based algorithms). Such an algorithm may be employed by the command ORDER BY, which orders the rows by increasing likelihood of relevance. So the following rough query may be used instead as the second step:

ROUGH ID, A FROM T WHERE B>15 AND A>18 ORDER BY A

[0216] In this example, assume that the heuristic algorithm finds data pack A1 to more likely have a MAX greater than A3. So the result is: 3S [18,22]; 1S [3,25].
[0217] Now the data in data packs A1 and B1 are directly accessed, which may include decompressing the data packs. Taking advantage of the results of the ORDER BY execution step, the data packs A1 and B1 are accessed first. The next query execution step is:

SELECT MAX(A) FROM T WHERE B>15 AND ID=3

[0218] Assume the result of this query results in the value 23. Rather than directly accessing the data of data packs A3 and B3 with a similar query, a rough query may be carried out to iteratively optimize the query. Thus, the next execution step is:

ROUGH ID FROM T WHERE B>15 AND A>23

[0219] Using the knowledge grid, the data pack node for A3 shows that A3 does not contain any values greater than 23. Thus, the final result of the query is 23.
[0220] Thus the query optimization using rough queries may prune the data packs of interest and may further identify where relevant results are most likely to be found, in order to reduce the amount of direct data access and data decompression used. Rather than having to directly access each data pack, the data pack nodes and/or knowledge nodes included in the knowledge grid may allow a query to be optimized using statistical and/or analytical information.
[0221] Now, consider the same table T which was used above, and the following query:

SELECT A, MAX(B) FROM T GROUP BY A

[0222] Assume that the query execution steps include creating a memory buffer of limited size (e.g., 5 positions) and storing the grouping values of A, as well as the maximum value B for each group. The initial execution plan may be to scan the column A to gain up to 5 distinct values and to find the appropriate maximum values of B in each group. Next, the buffer content is stored as a part of the query result and the whole table T is searched again for values of A that were not stored in the buffer previously. These passes are repeated until all values in column A are grouped.
[0223] Using the knowledge grid, the optimal order of the data packs may be determined by the rough query:

ROUGH ID FROM T ORDER BY MAX(A)−MIN(A)

[0224] (e.g., scanning begins from the data pack having the minimal span between the maximal and minimal value of A. The result is 3S, 2S, 1S.)
[0225] The grouping buffer is filled by values of pack A3. Since all 5 positions are already occupied, the pack A2 becomes locally irrelevant since it cannot contain any value [18,22] on column A. Now, assume that the maximal values of B for these groups are all larger than 40. In this case, B1 also becomes irrelevant since it cannot change the already known maximal values for these groups.
[0226] The first pass of the algorithm is concluded and all records having value A in [18,22], including the whole pack A3, become irrelevant for all further passes. At least four data pack accesses (A2, A1, B2, B1) were avoided compared to the situation where the knowledge grid is not used.
[0227] In cases where the knowledge grid indicates that all rows in a packrow contain single values over each of the columns used for grouping, the statistics on aggregated columns stored in the knowledge grid (e.g., minimum, maximum, and sum) may be directly used to populate the result of grouping.

Join Query Optimization Using Knowledge Nodes Example

[0228] The following example is for the purpose of illustration only. An example of a join query and optimization of the query execution using JPP, HIST, CMAP and other information stored in the DPNs will now be described. Consider the tables T1 and T2, consisting of 10 and 8 data packs, respectively, and the query:

SELECT T1.A FROM T1 JOIN T2 ON T1.K=T2.K WHERE T2.B>10

[0229] Assume that using the knowledge grid, data packs B1, B2 and B3 may be identified as irrelevant. Assume also that JPP Knowledge Node exists for T1 and T2 and its contents is as follows:
[00004] [TABLE-US-00004]
   
    T1
   
 
  T2   1   1   1   0   0   0   1   1   0   0
    0   1   1   1   0   0   0   1   0   0
    0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1   0   0
    0   1   0   0   0   1   1   1   0   0
    0   0   0   1   1   1   1   0   0   0
    1   1   1   1   1   1   0   0   0   0
    1   0   0   0   0   1   1   1   0   0
    1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1
 
[0230] If there is no JPP Knowledge Node calculated, its contents may be approximated based on data pack nodes (e.g., minimal/maximal values of the pairs of packs), HIST or CMAP. The way of initializing the local JPP node for a query is not needed for the example.
[0231] Given the information that B1, B2 and B3 are irrelevant, the modified JPP node for the query is prepared as follows:
[00005] [TABLE-US-00005]
   
    T1
   
 
  T2   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
    0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
    0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
    0   1   0   0   0   1   1   1   0   0
    0   0   0   1   1   1   1   0   0   0
    1   1   1   1   1   1   0   0   0   0
    1   0   0   0   0   1   1   1   0   0
    1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1
 
[0232] To determine the final answer, a joining of columns T1.K and T2.K is performed. Assume that the general execution plan for joins includes several steps, each of the steps including selection of subsets of potentially joinable rows from T1 and T2, ordering them by values of joining columns, and then matching column values to enlist a part of a solution. The decomposition of the joining process into steps may be done in such a way that every pair of rows matched in one step may not be matched in any further step.
[0233] Assume that a cost function value may be determined for all steps. The cost may be dependent on the size of ordered data, the number of opened data packs, and other factors influencing the total execution time and which are determinable based on the JPP node.
[0234] A heuristic, incremental decomposition of a joining operation into steps may be performed to minimize the total cost. Assume that the cost of joining n data packs with m other data packs is (n log n+m log m+16(n+m)) and that any sorter for which n+m>10 will not fit in memory and an additional penalty is added in this case. For the example above, a heuristic optimizer may propose the following steps:
[0235] join packs 1, 2 from T1 with 4, 5, 6 from T2;
[0236] join packs 1, 9, 10 from T1 with 8 from T2;
[0237] join packs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 from T1 with 5, 6 from T2; and
[0238] join packs 6, 7, 8 from T1 with 4, 7 from T2.
This execution plan is highlighted in the table below:
[00006] [TABLE-US-00006]
 
[see pdf for image]
 
[0239] This query optimization using rough information stored in the local JPP node, gathering information from both one-dimensional dependencies and join conditions, may minimize the total cost of joining tables. The cost may be minimized in all aspects, including the number of data packs accessed, the number of times the accessed data packs are accessed, the size and speed of intermediate structures, and known memory constraints may be addressed.

Data Structure

[0240] FIG. 10 illustrates the organization of the data within the RDBMS 200. In system 1000, data storage may be separated into three primary components: a database 1004 which may be either distributed or partitioned as shown or undistributed, a local cache 1002 database engine invocation (e.g., a temporary cache folder on the local HDD), and a central repository 1006. All of these data stores 1002, 1004, and 1006 may be located on different devices, however the database 1004 and central repository 1006 are sometimes stored together. Every KN 224 may be represented by one file in the central repository 1006.
[0241] In some aspects, the type and parameters of each KN 224 may be encoded in its file name. In some aspects, each KN 224 may have a file name with the format:

          XXXXXX.a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.rsi
where XXXXXX is a 6-character type identifier; a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h are numbers which identify objects and optionally may be type-dependent; and .rsi identifies the file as a KN 224. The repository 1006 may contain a definition file that describes its contents, and the definition file may have a file name of the format: rsi_dir.rsd.
[0242] The central repository 1006 may use periodic maintenance to check for the following possible inconsistencies:
[0243] i.) whether there is a .rsi file not described in a repository definition file. If so, the .rsi file should be removed;
[0244] ii.) whether the definition file contains entries which do not match any existing file. If so, these entries should be removed or a matching file should be scheduled for creation;
[0245] iii.) whether the KNs 224 are locked (e.g., marked as “working” as described below), but no client application 202 is using these KNs 224. If so, these KNs 224 should be unlocked.
[0246] The central repository 1006 may be accessible by multiple client applications 202 (FIG. 1) (e.g., multiple users) simultaneously, so the central repository 1006 may allow parallel access. To accommodate multiple client applications 202, a file locking mechanism may be used. KNs 224 may be typically small and may be loaded entirely to memory in which case access to them may be exclusive, for example only one process may read or write a particular KN 224 at one time. A method for resolving sharing conflicts may be as follows:
[0247] i.) when writing to a KN 224 is in progress, then if a first process tries to open a KN 224 that is being written by a second process, access of the first process to the KN 224 may be denied;
[0248] ii.) when a KN 224 increases in scope so old data is still valid, then if the information stored by the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 is obsolete (e.g., because the data pack(s) on which the KN 224 is based has been increased in scope), the KN 224 may be loaded into memory and the KN 224 may be updated after being loaded;
[0249] iii.) when a KN 224 decreases in scope so old data may not be valid, then if the information stored by the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 is obsolete (e.g., because the data pack 221 on which the KN 224 is based has been decreased in scope), the KN 224 may be not loaded into memory and the operations may proceed without the KN 224 by proceeding to access the DPN 222 or data in the respective data pack 221;
[0250] iv.) when a new KN 224 is created which supplements but does not replace an old KN 224, then if the information stored by the Knowledge Grid Manager 220 is obsolete (e.g., because there is a new KN 224), the older KN 224 may be loaded into memory.
[0251] Unlike conventional database indices which cannot be accessed once the underlying data has changed unless the database indices have themselves been updated (typically, data and database indices must be updated together, absent which the data cannot be accessed), data packs 221 and DPNs 222 in the RDBMS 200 may be updated independently of any associated KNs 224. This allows updated data in data packs 221 to be accessed almost immediately whereas associated KNs 224 may not be available depending on whether such objects have been updated. This may be advantageous in that some KNs 224 may be time consuming to update. Therefore, KNs 224 which are quicker to update may be updated shortly after the underlying data pack 221, while more time consuming KNs 224 may be updated at a convenient time such as when the RDBMS 200 is less active.
[0252] When a new Knowledge Grid Manager 220 task is scheduled, it may be written in a repository definition file. To write to the definition file, the file may be reopened in exclusive mode, after which it may be read. If the file does not yet contain the desired task, the task may be added and the file may be written to disk and then unlocked. A similar procedure may be used when an Knowledge Grid Manager 220 decides to execute a scheduled task: first, the definition file may be opened exclusively to read the task definition, assuming it is still available, then the task may be marked as “working”, the file may be written back to disk and unlocked. Meanwhile, the KN object file may be locked and its recalculation may start. After a successful object update, the repository definition file may again be locked and updated as the task is removed from the schedule.

Tiered Data Warehouse Architecture

[0253] FIG. 11 illustrates a tiered data warehouse system 1100. The system 1100 may include a primary warehouse 1102 coupled to an archival secondary warehouse 1112 via a Tiered Warehouse Management Console 1107. Between the primary warehouse 1102 and the secondary warehouse 1112 are the import/export modules, collectively 1103, that facilitate data transfer between the primary warehouse 1102 and the secondary warehouse 1112. The primary warehouse 1102 may include a RDBMS 200 coupled to a database including one or more base tables each including one or more data records. The RDBMS 200 may include a conventional RDBMS, for example such as that provided by MySQL®, Teradata™, Oracle®, etc.
[0254] One or more users may access the primary warehouse 1102 via respective client applications 1104 implemented on user terminals (not shown). A SQL-based interface may be provided by the client application 1104 to access the primary warehouse 1102 using standard SQL query tools. The system 1100 may optionally include one or more of a listener 1106 which monitors and stores queries (e.g., SELECT statements) or alternatively queries are extracted from the primary warehouse 1102 and/or secondary warehouse 1112 log files. The resulting query log 1118 may be provided to the Query Log Analyzer 1120.
[0255] Users accessing the secondary warehouse 1112 may use the same client application 1104. A SQL-based interface may be provided by the client application 1104 to access the secondary warehouse 1112 using standard SQL query tools. Unlike the primary warehouse 1102, the secondary warehouse 1112 may include an RDBMS 200 coupled to a database including one or more data packs 221 each associated with basic analytical information in the form of DPNs 222 and having associated therewith advanced analytical information in the form of KNs 224.
[0256] The Query Log Analyzer 1120 may be a functional program that analyzes query information collected in the raw query logs 1118 to determine the usage of data by users over a given time period within the primary warehouse 1102 and secondary warehouse 1112. The Query Log Analyzer 1120 analyzes the frequency of data usage or access within the primary warehouse 1102 and secondary warehouse 1112. Alternatively, specific query statistics need not be recorded. Instead of maintaining specific statistics, an approximation of the queries on specified data (e.g., data ranges based on time or some other factor) using a satisfactory statistical sampling of queries may yield faster results and still provide the desired information on user queries. The Query Log Analyzer 1120 may also identify the user who executed the query, the tables and columns and the manner in which the columns where referenced within the query (e.g., part of the result set, used in JOIN criteria or used for filtering or sorting results).
[0257] The Query Explorer 1109 allows a user to examine the results of the Query Log Analyzer 1120 that are stored in the query usage statistics 1108. Depending on the frequency of data usage and pre-determined performance criteria, the Query Explorer Module 1109 may identify candidate data in the primary warehouse 1102 that may be moved to the secondary warehouse 1112 to improve the performance of the system 1100. The Tiered Warehouse Management Console 1107 may manage the tiered environment, may identify candidate data via the Query Explorer 1109 in the primary warehouse 1102 that may be moved to the secondary warehouse 1112, and may manage the data movement (e.g., data migration) process, using the service of the Job Management Service 1105, which coordinates the activities of standard import and export utilities 1103 provided by the primary and secondary warehouse 1102 and 1112. The Job Management Service 1105 uses encoding operations similar to the operations 300 described above when exporting data from the primary warehouse 1102 to the secondary warehouse 1112. Base tables from the primary warehouse 1102 are encoded and stored in data packs 221 with DPNs 222 and KNs 224 in the secondary warehouse 1112.
[0258] The performance criteria of the Tiered Warehouse Management Console 1107 may specify an access frequency (e.g., in terms of % usage in a given time interval), relative access rate of selected data, or other pre-defined conditions which identify data in the primary warehouse 1102 as being suitable for transfer and archiving in the secondary warehouse 1112. The user may be allowed to specify parameters, for example the user may specify that only 10% of data should be left in the primary warehouse 1102. In this case, the Tiered Warehouse Management Console 1107 may search for the 10% or some other suitable percentage which is most frequently used in queries to keep in the primary warehouse 1102 and migrate the remainder to the secondary warehouse 1112, and may express the most active 10% using predefined time dimension ranges. Typically, data access in the primary warehouse 1102 may be most frequent with new or freshly added data. As data ages in the primary warehouse 1102, it typically becomes accessed less and less. In accordance with some implementations, once data access falls below some predetermined threshold, for example if a base table is accessed less than once a month, the data may be selected for archiving, (e.g., to be transferred to the secondary warehouse 1112). The conditions and thresholds for archiving are variable and may be set to optimize the performance of the overall system 1100.
[0259] The Query Log Analyzer 1120 also analyzes the usage of data in the secondary warehouse 1112 using information collected by its respective listener and/or query log. If data in the secondary warehouse 1112 is being accessed more frequently, it can be exported back from the secondary warehouse 1112 back to the primary warehouse 1102 to satisfy the relevant performance criteria of the system 1100. The Job Management Service 1105 may use decoding operations similar to those described above when exporting data from the secondary warehouse 1112 to the primary warehouse 1102. Data packs 221 from the secondary warehouse 1112 are decoded to the underlying base tables to be exported back to the primary warehouse 1102.
[0260] The Query usage statistics 1108 may also be used to optimize the KNs 224 in the database of the secondary warehouse 1112 so as to find the optimal KNs 224 based on query patterns, using an approach similar to the Knowledge Grid Optimizer 240 described above. The Query Explorer Module 1109 may also be used to analyze queries to understand how users are relating data thereby enabling further analysis of the data. Using this query information, reports or other information about data usage may be used to better organize or use the data. In addition to analyzing query data usage with respect to time dimensions, query data usage may also be estimated with respect to other dimensions. For example, it may be possible to detect that user group x runs queries over a much wider time ranges than user group y, or that column A is the only column accessed in table T by user group z. Similarly, the Query Explorer 1109 may also indicate how column data is referenced in queries, enabling better tuning of the primary warehouse 1102. For instance if tables are frequently joined, perhaps the tables should be combined. If a column is frequently used for filtering, an index may improve query speed.
[0261] The tiered architecture of the system 1100 seeks to address the problem that many data warehouses operate at or near capacity, and that the amount and detail of data being stored is ever increasing. While adding storage capability may accommodate increasing amounts of data, it may be costly and may not improve system performance or responsiveness. In addition, many database management systems have limits on how much data can be handled and managed to ensure performance levels are reasonable. The tiered architecture of the system 1100 allows less frequently used data, typically older data, to be removed from the primary warehouse 1102 to a secondary warehouse 1112 where the data can be compressed to reduce storage requirements. The system 1100 also allows for the restoration of data from the secondary warehouse 1112 to the primary warehouse 1102, if desired. However, in many cases, users simply do not have the disk space to accommodate large data set restores, presenting another advantage of the tiered warehouse approach.
[0262] In accordance with the tiered architecture of the system 1100, the primary warehouse 1102 may be implemented using an RDBMS 200 suitable for handling larger volumes of users efficiently, and configured to support a large number of reports that are executed regularly (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, or annually). In this way, the primary warehouse 1102 may be used to reference more current data, for example such as the last two years. The secondary warehouse 1112 may be used to reference older data, which typically supports more analytical functions such as where long term histories are required to determine trends or statistical analyses. In this way, the types of queries performed on the primary warehouse 1102 and secondary warehouse 1112 may differ in terms of database tuning.
[0263] However, the tiered architecture allows short-term functions (e.g., reporting) to be implemented on the primary warehouse 1102 while analytical functions may be implemented on the secondary warehouse 1112. This may simplify data access and may allow improved tuning of the entire system 1100, which may improve overall performance and lowering costs by implementing a portion of the system 1100 on a lower cost, secondary warehouse 1112 of compressed data. In addition, using KNs 224 representations in the secondary warehouse 1112 where analytical type queries are more common may provide synergies in that the answer to analytical queries may be found directly in the DPNs 222 and KNs 224 themselves, negating the need to access the underlying data. Many statistical results are pre-calculated and stored with the DPNs 222 and/or KNs 224.
[0264] FIG. 12 illustrates a tiered data warehouse system 1200. The system 1200 is similar to the system 1100 in that it may include a primary warehouse 1206 for “current data” or more frequently accessed data, and a secondary warehouse 1208 for “older data” or less frequently accessed data which may be compressed in data packs 221 and which contains DPNs 222 and KNs 224. However, the system 1200 also incorporates a Seamless Query Module 1204 and Unified Knowledge Grid 1210 for the primary warehouse 1206 and the secondary warehouse 1208. The Seamless Query Module 1204 includes information about the data of the primary warehouse 1206 and the secondary warehouse 1208 to provide a seamless query interface to a user via a client application 1202. A user using the client application 1202 may be provided with a SQL query interface to perform queries without regard to whether the data referenced by the query is stored in the primary warehouse 1206 and/or secondary warehouse 1208. The underlying tiered architecture of the system 1200 may be invisible to the user. Depending on the query parameters, the Seamless Query Module 1204 may determine whether the referenced data is in the primary warehouse 1206, secondary warehouse 1208, or in rare cases both. The Seamless Query Module 1204 then engages the respective database engine of the primary warehouse 1206 and/or second warehouse 1208, as necessary.
[0265] Although the methods and systems of the present disclosure are described in the context of data packs 221 and DPNs 222, the concept of a knowledge grid using statistical data elements may be created also for other database systems based on a conventional database having base tables and conventional database indices without the need of storing data packs 221 and DPNs 222.
[0266] FIG. 13 illustrates a computing device architecture 1300 that may be used with the systems described. The computing device architecture 1300 may be representative of the client application 202, or any of the computing devices, servers, or computers described above. The computing device 1300 generally may include a bus 1301, a one or more than one microprocessor or processor 1302, a memory 1304, a display 1306, one or more user input devices 1308, and a communication interface 1309, which may all be coupled to the bus 1301. The computing device 1300 may additionally include a display device (not shown) for communicating an output to a user. In one example, the user input devices 1308 may be a keyboard or pointing device such as a mouse. The communication interface 1309 provides an interface for communicating with a network 1326. An operating system 1310 or applications 1312 run on the processor 1302. The memory 1304 includes Random Access Memory (RAM) 1316, Read Only Memory (ROM) 1318, and a disk 1320. In one example, the data processing system 1300 may include either a client or a server. Any of the software modules or components mentioned above may be stored in the memory 1304 for execution by the processor 1302.
[0267] In accordance with some aspects, there is provided a method for encoding column data from a base table in one or more data packs, the base table including one or more columns of data, the method including: selecting a column in the base table; selecting a compression algorithm based on a data type in the column; compressing data from the column using the selected compression algorithm; and storing the compressed column data in a data pack.
[0268] In some aspects, each of the two or more columns of data may be at least one of: a string, a numeric value, floating point value, and binary.
[0269] In some aspects, the method may further include, before compressing the column data: generating a null mask representing the positions of null and non-null value positions in the column; generating a reduced data set from the column data, including removing the null position from the column data; and wherein the data from the column compressed in the compression step is the reduced data set, and wherein the null mask is stored in the data pack the compressed column data.
[0270] In some aspects, the data warehouse system may include more than one computing device accessing data, the KNs 224 and the DPNs 222 stored in a common disk space. In one example, one computing device may process one user query and may access the KNs 224 updated by another computing device.
[0271] These and other aspects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the above detailed description, taken in combination with the appended drawings.
[0272] While the present disclosure is primarily described as a method, a person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the present disclosure is also directed to an apparatus or system for carrying out the disclosed method and including apparatus parts for performing each described method step, be it by way of hardware components, a computer programmed by appropriate software to enable the practice of the disclosed method, by any combination of the two, or in any other manner. Moreover, an article of manufacture for use with the apparatus, such as a pre-recorded storage device or other similar computer readable medium including program instructions recorded thereon, or a computer data signal carrying computer readable program instructions, may direct an apparatus to facilitate the practice of the disclosed method. It is understood that such apparatus, articles of manufacture, and computer data signals also come within the scope of the present disclosure.
[0273] The embodiments of the present disclosure described above are intended to be examples only, for the purposes of illustration and not intended to be limiting. Those of skill in the art may effect alterations, modifications and variations to the particular embodiments without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. In particular, selected features from one or more of the above-described embodiments may be combined to create alternative embodiments not explicitly described, features suitable for such combinations being readily apparent to persons skilled in the art. The subject matter described herein in the recited claims intends to cover and embrace all suitable changes in technology.
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Claim

1. A method of storing data, the data having individual data elements, the method comprising:
grouping a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit;
gathering information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and
storing the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on computer readable storage device,
wherein each of the data units has at least one corresponding information unit.
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the overall size of the stored information units does not exceed 1% of the overall size of stored data units.
3. The method according to claim 1, wherein a single information unit is associated with a single data unit, and wherein information stored in the single information unit corresponds to contents of the associated single data unit.
4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the information in the at least one information unit corresponding to the data unit includes at least one of:
a minimum value of the data elements in the data unit, wherein the minimum value is computed according to the data type;
a maximum value of the data elements in the data unit, wherein the maximum value is computed according to the data type;
a number of non-null values found within the data elements in the data unit; and
a total value of the data elements in the data unit, where the total value is computed according to the data type and the total value is not computed where the data type is not suitable for adding.
5. The method according to claim 2, wherein the at least one data unit includes numeric data elements and a range of the numeric data elements is divided into a plurality of intervals with indications of whether or not values of the numeric data elements occur within the intervals being stored in the corresponding information unit.
6. The method according to claim 5, wherein there are 1024 or less intervals, not counting the first and the last interval, the first and the last intervals not being stored in the corresponding information unit.
7. The method according to claim 5, wherein the intervals have non-uniform interval ranges and the interval ranges are adjusted to the content of the numeric data elements such that ranges of the intervals with no data occurrences are larger in size than ranges having data occurrences.
8. The method according to claim 2, wherein at least one of the data units includes string data elements and information in the corresponding information unit indicate whether the data elements contain a given character in a given position, the information being stored in the corresponding information unit as a matrix of possible characters and possible positions.
9. The method according to claim 8, wherein the information unit includes up to a first 64 positions of each string data element and wherein up to the first 8 positions are not stored where all strings in the data unit have the same characters at those up to 8 positions.
10. The method according to claim 1, wherein a single information unit is associated with two or more data units of the same data type, the information unit grouping data elements of the two or more data units, and wherein the information stored in the information unit corresponds to relationships between data elements in the two or more data units.
11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the information in the information unit that is associated with the two or more data units indicates whether there are common data elements in the two or more data units.
12. The method according to claim 1, wherein the data elements are arranged in a table having columns and rows, each data unit having a number of data elements from a single column of the table.
13. The method according to claim 12, wherein the data units having data elements corresponding to the same rows of the table are grouped into data unit groups, each data unit group having an identification number and the data elements corresponding to the same row having the same position within the data units of the data unit group.
14. The method according to claim 13, wherein a single information unit is associated with a single data unit group, the information being stored in the information unit including at least one of statistics, relationships, dependencies, and patterns observed for rows of the data elements belonging to the single data unit group.
15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the information unit associated with the data unit group is structured as a directed acyclic graph having nodes, directed edges, a root node, and directed paths from the root node to the nodes, each directed edge corresponding to a data condition based on at least one column of data, each directed path corresponding to a conjunction of the data conditions corresponding to the directed edges in the directed path, and wherein a given node that is arrived at by a given directed path includes information about the data elements of one of the data units in the data unit group, the corresponding rows of the data unit group satisfying the conjunction of data conditions corresponding to the directed edges in the given directed path.
16. The method according to claim 13, wherein a single information unit is associated with a single data unit group from a first table, and wherein information stored in the information unit includes at least one of statistics, relationships, dependencies, and patterns observed for rows in a second table having data elements having one or more relationships with the data elements of rows belonging to the data unit group of the first table.
17. The method according to claim 13, wherein a single information unit is associated with a first data unit group from a first table and a second data unit group from a second table, the information stored in the information unit representing relationships between the data elements of rows in a data unit group in the first table and the data elements of rows in a data unit group in the second table.
18. The method according to claim 17, wherein the information in the information unit indicates whether there are any common data elements in the data unit corresponding to a column in the data unit group in the first table and in the data unit corresponding to a column in the data unit group in the second table.
19. The method according to claim 1, wherein the data units contain up to 65,536 data elements.
20. The method according to claim 1, wherein the information units are monitored for usage efficiency in resolving queries, the efficiency being evaluated based on an overall number of accesses to the data units that are accessed, where more efficient information units result in less access to the data units, information units having low efficiency being deleted according to constraints including at least one of:
a maximum pre-determined amount of disk space for storing all of the information units; and
a maximum pre-determined amount of memory used by all of the information units.
21. The method according to claim 20, wherein new information units are selected as candidates to replace current information units using heuristic optimization algorithms including at least one of: greedy, randomized, and AI-based, the algorithms evaluating the candidate information units based on a group of criteria including at least one of: size of a candidate information unit and estimated expected efficiency of a candidate information unit.
22. A method of processing a data query in a data processing system, data in the data processing system including a plurality of individual data elements, the data elements being grouped and stored in at least one data unit, information about the at least one data unit being gathered and stored in at least one information unit, the method comprising:
receiving the data query to be executed;
using the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query;
resolving the data query; and
returning results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
23. The method according to claim 22, wherein the data query is selected from the group consisting of a SQL statement and a SQL language extension.
24. The method according to claim 22, wherein the data elements are arranged in a table having columns and rows, the data units having a number of data elements from a single column of the table.
25. The method according to claim 24, wherein the data units having data elements corresponding to the same rows of the table are grouped into data unit groups, each data unit group having an identification number and the data elements corresponding to the same row having the same position within the data units of the data unit group.
26. The method according to claim 22, wherein resolving the data query includes executing an execution plan, the execution plan having a sequence of data processing operations, execution of each of data processing operations within the execution plan further including the steps of:
using the information in the at least one information unit to identify the data units containing the data elements that are to be retrieved to complete the operation;
retrieving the data elements in the respective data units needed to complete the operation;
completing the operation; and
if the completed operation is the last operation in resolving the data query, returning the results of the data query for use by the data processing system and if the completed operation is not the last operation in resolving the data query, returning intermediate results of the operation for use by the remaining operations in the execution plan.
27. The method according to claim 26, wherein there are a plurality of available algorithms to perform a given data processing operation, and wherein at least one information unit is used to evaluate which of the available algorithms will be used to perform the given data processing operation.
28. The method according to claim 26, wherein the information in the at least one information unit is used to perform a data processing operation on one or more of the data units and to optimize the operation when performed on the intermediate results of previous operations in the execution plan.
29. The method according to claim 28, wherein the steps of retrieving the data elements in the respective data units and completing the operation further comprises:
retrieving the data elements in at least a portion of the respective data units to obtain a partial resolution to the data processing operation; and
using the partial resolution and the information in the at least one information unit to re-identify any further data units containing data elements that are to be retrieved in order to complete the operation.
30. The method according to claim 29, wherein the steps of retrieving the data elements in at least a portion of the respective data units and re-identifying any further data units are repeated until the partial resolution is sufficient to complete the operation.
31. The method according to claim 30, wherein at least one information unit is used to determine an ordering of the data units to be accessed to complete the data processing operation with a minimum number of the data units being accessed.
32. The method according to claim 28, wherein the information units are used to categorize the data units into categories including:
data units that have no data elements relevant for further resolving the data processing operation;
data units where all of the data elements in the data unit are relevant for further resolving the data processing operation; and
data units where the information in the respective information units is insufficient to categorize the data units.
33. The method according to claim 31, wherein the information stored in the information unit associated with the data unit and for which all data elements were identified as relevant for further resolving the data processing operation is used in resolving the data processing operation without accessing the data unit.
34. The method according to claim 26, wherein the data processing operations include sorting the data elements and at least one information unit is used to generate a mathematical formula for replacing original data elements with smaller-sized code values that are used instead of the original data elements to perform the sort.
35. The method according to claim 34, wherein the sorting operation is performed on string data, the information units storing the information about occurrences of characters at particular positions of the strings in the data packs that are relevant to the data query, the information units being used to generate a mathematical formula replacing actual characters with the encoded values, and wherein the positions detected as having the same character in all relevant data units are omitted during coding and during sorting.
36. The method according to claim 26, wherein the data processing operations include an aggregation operation, the result of the data processing operation being a set of aggregates of data, the aggregates being iteratively constructed in parallel to accessing the data units, the ordering of constructing aggregates and accessing the data units being optimized using at least one information unit.
37. The method according to claim 26, wherein the data elements are arranged in at least one table having columns and rows, the data units having a number of data elements from a single column of the table, the data processing operations including a join operation for joining two or more tables of the data elements, the joining operation being performed in stages using portions of the tables to be joined resulting in reduced memory requirements to resolve the query, the portions of the tables providing the most efficient execution of the joining operation being determined using the information in the at least one information unit, the portions of the tables being defined as pairs of sets of data unit groups from the two or more tables.
38. The method according to claim 26, wherein the data processing operations include a sorting operation, the sorting operation creating groups of disjoint data elements from the data units that are to be sorted for resolving the data query, the groups of the data elements being sorted separately resulting in reduced memory requirements to resolve the query, the groups of the disjoint data elements from the data units being determined using at least one information unit to provide more efficient execution of the sorting operation.
39. The method according to claim 26, wherein there is a plurality of candidate execution plans for resolving the data query and the at least one information unit is used for evaluating performance of the candidate execution plans and for selecting a preferred candidate execution plan according to the evaluated performance.
40. The method according to claim 37, wherein the evaluation of the candidate execution plans is performed by partially executing the candidate execution plans using the at least one information unit and using intermediate results for further evaluation of the execution plans.
41. The method according to claim 37 wherein the performance is evaluated based on an estimation of the amount of data units that have to be accessed, an estimation of the amount of accesses to the data units to be accessed, and an estimation of the sizes of intermediate structures used in executing the candidate execution plan, and wherein the amount of data units to be accessed, the amount of accesses to the data units, and the sizes of the intermediate structures are to be minimized.
42. The method according to claim 39, wherein the best execution plan among the candidate execution plans is chosen using heuristic optimization algorithms including at least one of: greedy, randomized, and AI-based algorithms, the algorithms evaluating the candidate execution plans based on a group of criteria including at least one of: an estimation of the amount of data units that have to be accessed, an estimation of the amount of accesses to the data units to be accessed, and an estimation of the sizes of intermediate structures used in executing the candidate execution plan.
43. The method according to claim 26, wherein further information units are dynamically created while executing the execution plan to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query.
44. The method according to claim 26, wherein the information in the at least one information unit is dynamically altered by a result of at least one of the data processing operations in the execution plan to reduce the time it takes to perform further data processing operations in the execution plan and to resolve a data query.
45. The method according to claim 26, wherein results of one of the data processing operations are used to determine parameters of subsequent data processing operations to reduce the time it takes to resolve a data query.
46. The method according to claim 26, wherein the data processing operations in the execution plan are defined using a language of information queries, wherein the information queries are resolved based on the information units, with no access to the data units.
47. A data processing system for storing data, the data having individual data elements, the system comprising:
a server comprising:
a processor for controlling operation of the server;
a storage device coupled to the processor; and
a memory coupled to the processor, the server being configured to:
group a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit;
gather information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and
store the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on the storage device,
wherein each of the data units has at least one corresponding information unit.
48. A data processing system for processing a data query comprising:
a server having:
a processor for controlling operation of the server;
a storage device coupled to the processor; and
a memory coupled to the processor,
the system including a plurality of individual data elements, the data elements being grouped and stored in at least one data unit on the storage device, information about the at least one data unit being stored in at least one information unit on the storage device, the server including a query module resident in the memory for execution by the processor, the query module being configured to:
receive the data query to be executed;
use the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query;
resolve the data query; and
return results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
49. A computer program product having a computer readable medium tangibly embodying code for storing data in a data processing system, the data having individual data elements, the computer program product comprising: code for grouping a plurality of data elements of a same data type into at least one data unit;
code for gathering information about the data elements of the at least one data unit into at least one information unit; and
code for storing the at least one data unit and the at least one information unit on the storage device, each of the data units having at least one corresponding information unit.
50. A computer program product having a computer readable medium tangibly embodying code for processing a data query in a data processing system, the system including a plurality of individual data elements, the data elements being grouped and stored in at least one data unit, information about the at least one data unit being stored in at least one information unit, the computer program product comprising:
code for receiving the data query to be executed;
code for using the information in the at least one information unit to optimize and execute the query;
code for resolving the data query; and
code for returning results of the data query for use by the data processing system.
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